Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Special pavement coating helps Los Angeles neighborhood stay cool » Yale Climate Connections

Last summer, the asphalt in a 10-block area in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacoima got a fresh coat of paint and a street mural painted by a local artist.

“It has the California poppy on it, it has the nearby mountains on it, it has community members in it, it has the sun,” says Gina Palino of the nonprofit Climate Resolve.

She says it’s not just any paint. It’s a special coating designed to keep pavement cool by reflecting the sun’s infrared rays.

Traditional asphalt absorbs and stores heat from the sun, making urban areas hotter. And Pacoima has a lot of pavement and little green space.

So Climate Resolve partnered with the city and other local nonprofits on a project to reduce urban heat in the area.

Manufacturer GAF developed and donated the coating, and volunteers applied it to streets, parking lots, and basketball courts.

The team will monitor pavement and air temperatures over time. But Palino says that initial satellite images — and word on the street — suggest the new coating is helping.

“People definitely seem to notice that it’s cooler and they walk around and don’t feel the heat as much,” Palino says.

Cities already budget for re-coating asphalt, so she says they could easily adopt this technology if it proves effective.

Reporting credit: Meg Duff / ChavoBart Digital Media

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