Climate Resolve Takes LA’s Temperature

Posted by on March 19, 2015

LA is, truly, the place to be — and no one knows it better than us.

So last week, when the Funders Network asked us to take visitors from all over the country around the country on a walking tour of Downtown LA, our answer was a resounding OH YEAH.

We got tours of Grand Park, Grand Ave, Little Tokyo, and Grand Central Market from the people most in the know, and LADWP experts were on hand to teach us how LA gets its water. But, of course, this being Climate Resolve, we had to take a little detour to demonstrate something dear to our hearts: cool surfaces.

In cities, vast expanses of asphalt shingles and streets combined with a sparse tree cover mean that they can frequently be as much as 22°F hotter than the suburbs, rural areas, or parks. We addressed this with our work on cool roofs (which are now law!), but that’s just part of the problem. Next on our list are those expanses of hot black asphalt just itching for a makeover: parking lots.

So there we were, huddled around two parking spots in a city lot in Little Tokyo. They don’t look too exceptional, but they are coated in a special sealant that is more light gray than black, and that is made extra-reflective by its high titanium content, and on especially hot days, they can be up to 20°F cooler than their traditional all-black counterparts. In a hot city like ours, this makes a huge difference. But don’t take our word for it — use one of these cool ray-gun thermometers for yourself and see!