Painting Streets White to Cool Down Neighborhoods

August 25, 2017
CoolSeal helps lower the amount of radiant heat by reflecting, rather than absorbing, sunlight.

Los Angeles has been suffering through a long hot summer, and city officials say climate change will continue the trend.  This summer, as part of the Cool Pavement Pilot Program, the city is trying something new to cool down one of the largest sources of the Urban Heat Island effect.

Black asphalt roads suck up the sun and radiate the heat back to the immediate environment. By mid-day in August, the pavement surface can reach more than 150 degrees as measured by an infrared thermometer. “More than 10 percent of the land area in L.A. is asphalt, whether it’s streets or parking lots,” says Greg Spotts, assistant director of the city’s Bureau of Street Services, which is leading the cool pavements project, a pilot with a $150,000 budget.

The city is testing a new pavement sealing method called CoolSeal that helps lower the amount of radiant heat caused by the asphalt. Workers are spreading a light gray oil-based pavement sealer that almost immediately reflects the hot sun, resulting in temperature drops of at least 10 degrees on the pavement itself.

Listen to the interview with Greg Spotts here:


Image: GuardTop