Cool Roofs and Surfaces

The Program

In working to help improve the climate resilience of Los Angeles with easy, common-sense policies to better our city, we launched a “Cool Roofs” campaign in 2012. A first step was bringing together dozens of experts, scientists, and leaders from across the country who are making great strides towards creating affordable climate solutions. At our March 2013 “Hot City, Cool Roofs” Conference, we were joined by then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in planning next steps for how cool roofs can improve Los Angeles today, tomorrow, and over the next century. Climate Resolve and the participants of the conference identified a key takeaway from the conference: passing a law that to require all new and refurbished homes to have a cool roof. In December 2013, Los Angeles became the first large city to pass such a law, which was unanimously approved by LA City Council. “Keeping temperatures down on extreme heat days will protect lives; energy efficiency will save millions of dollars; and cool roofs will help Los Angeles combat global climate change at the local level,” said Climate Resolve’s Executive Director Jonathan Parfrey after the bill passed.

How It Works

Cool surfaces — with reflective coatings on roofs, pavements, parking lots, playgrounds — provide enormous relief from the heat. We can all feel the difference in temperature between a tree-lined street and a barren stretch of wide sidewalk. Concrete, asphalt, and most roofs capture the sun’s energy, holding it and slowly radiating heat back out. These kinds of surfaces contribute to the urban heat island effect.

Cool Roofs: While most standard roofs absorb the sun’s radiant energy into the building — transferring it as heat — cool roofs reflects the sunlight to keep buildings cooler. Made from a variety of materials, cool roofs can be applied to new and existing roof surfaces on houses, garages, and commercial buildings. With a cool roof, the surface can be more than 50°F cooler during a hot summer day — cooling the interior of a building by several degrees Fahrenheit. The benefits: More comfort, and fewer chances of heat-related injuries or deaths. Even homes and other buildings without air-conditioning will stay cooler on the hotter days.

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Climate-Ready Roofs: Along with Habitat for Humanity and Grid Alternatives, Climate Resolve is bringing high-tech clean energy solutions to communities traditionally left out of the green energy economy. We’re providing low-income homeowners with structurally sound cool roofs topped with solar panels — to help families save energy and reduce greenhouse gases.

Cool Pavements and Streets: We are developing a plan for the city of Los Angeles to meet the cooling target outlined in the sustainability plan with a series of strategies involving cool streets and pavements.

What You Can Do

Since 2014, all new residential construction and many major renovations have been required to install a cool roof. Cool roofs are compatible with other innovative, money-saving technologies, including solar panels and water catchment systems. Additionally, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) offers up to a $.30 per sq. ft. rebate for residential roofs. This rebate was expanded to include more roofs types and applicable products in the City of Los Angeles. Find more from the “Building Products” section of LADWP’s Consumer Rebate Program page.

More Information

LADWP Fact Sheet on Cool Roofs (PDF)

Cool Roof Ratings Council

Global Cool Cities Alliance

White Roofing Project

Cool Roof Products

Below are a few available cool roofing product sources. Refer to the Cool Roof Rating Council‘s product directory for a more comprehensive list.

Cool Roofs Product Information from GAF (PDF)

Cool Roofs Product Information from Owens Corning (PDF)

Cool Roofs Product Information from Ecoasis (PDF on shingles; PDF on Ecoasis Sol; PDF on Ecoasis Premium)

Malarkey Roofing Products

CertainTeed

Eagle Roofing Products

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