Press Release: LA Becomes First Major City to Mandate Cool Roofs on All New Residences

Posted by on December 17, 2013

December 17, 2013

Major Victory for Los Angeles: City to Become Cooler
LA Becomes First Major City to Mandate Cool Roofs on All New Residences

Los Angeles – Today, the City of Los Angeles became a little cooler. The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an update to the Municipal Building Code this morning making Los Angeles the first major city to require all new and refurbished homes to have a “cool roof.”

A cool roof uses material that naturally reflects sunlight as opposed to absorbing the sun’s radiant energy. The result can be more than 50°F cooler on the surface of the roof during a hot summer day and can cool the interiors of buildings by several degrees Fahrenheit, reducing chances of heat-related injuries or deaths.

“Climate Resolve has been working on this ordinance because we know it is a great step forward in meeting the City’s energy efficiency and climate goals. Cool roofs are a great way for Angelenos to keep their energy costs low and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the City,” said Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director of Climate Resolve.

UCLA research suggests that by midcentury local temperatures will increase between 3.7°F and 5.4°F. Rising temperatures will be most notable during the summer and fall, with the number of “extreme heat” days above 95°F tripling in downtown Los Angeles and nearly quadrupling in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

“The changes our region will face are significant, and we will have to adapt,” said UCLA Professor Alex Hall, lead author of “Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region.” The first of its kind ordinance will help Los Angeles: 1) become more resilient and healthier on hot days, 2) reduce heat related hospitalizations, 3) improve air quality by reducing the formation of ozone, 4) inoculate against power outages, 5) reduce homeowners electricity bills, 6) reduce greenhouse gas emissions and 7) provide a more pleasant home environment.

The ordinance will not be an economic burden for homeowners. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has expanded its cool roof incentives, making the difference between a cool and hot roof cost neutral. “Cool roofs are a win-win-win for the people of Los Angeles,” says Parfrey. “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.”