Los Angeles Is Painting Their Streets White In Order To Fight Climate Change

Californians are committed to creating policies that protect the environment. California observes 2014″s, Clean Air Act, a federal law mandating states to make sure private companies meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) pollution standards. California regulated one thousand five hundred ninety-seven private industries under The Clean Air Act the year it was passed, more than any neighboring state.

In 2015, California spent over nine billion dollars on its environmental and natural resources departments. In 2017 and 2018, residents of Los Angeles painted their streets white to reduce climate change. Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, hoped that painting the streets white for two consecutive springs would make the city a minimum of three degrees cooler by 2019.

Los Angeles is an urban heat island. Urban heat islands are metropolitan areas made significantly hotter than surrounding areas when buildings and roads replace land and vegetation. Black asphalt can absorb anywhere from eighty to ninety-five percent of the sun’s rays. The land, no longer cooled by shading plants and moist soil, is warmer and drier.

The metropolitan area is warmest, sometimes differing from the surrounding area by twenty-two degrees Fahrenheit (twelve degrees Celsius). A bright, white coating might the raise the spirits of Los Angeles’ citizens, but it could also lower the temperature of their city. Los Angeles’ streets have been treated with CoolSeal,  a white, water based, asphalt emulsion that reflects the sun’s rays.

Streets treated with CoolSeal are an average of ten to fifteen degrees Fahrenheit cooler than asphalt streets. When a street in the San Fernando Valley was coated as part of a pilot program, however, the difference was even more impressive. The street coated with CoolSeal was twenty-three degrees cooler than an intersection coated with asphalt. Using CoolSeal has sociocultural benefits as well, since a cooler city would benefit those who can’t afford air conditioning.

This product is beneficial for the Earth and the Californians who live on it. It promotes environmental sustainability, but the city still has to determine whether it can sustain the long term cost. The coating costs an average of forty thousand U.S. dollars per mile to apply, and it only lasts an average of seven years.

GuardTop, the Orange County, California asphalt company that produces CoolSeal, originally catered to a client with a large budget. According to a 2017 Washington Post article, the U.S. military used CoolSeal to conceal grounded military aircraft from spy aircraft outfitted with infrared cameras. More recently, it has been applied to parking lots and playgrounds, but 2017 was the first time it had been applied to city streets.

For GuardTop, this expansion fits perfectly with its mission to “improve the aesthetics and longevity of pavements without compromising safety or the environment.” Jeff Luzar, the national sales director for GuardTop, believes applying CoolSeal to city streets could help Los Angeles to solidify its reputation as one of the most desirable destinations in The United States, in addition to increasing its environmental sustainability. “We’re going to be the coolest city in Southern California,” he says.

[H/T archdaily, MNN]

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