To combat extreme heat, the GAF Cool Community Project installed nearly 1 million square feet of StreetBond® solar-reflective pavement coatings in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacoima.
Extreme heat is the leading weather-related cause of death in the U.S. In June 2022 alone, according to the National Weather Service, more than 70 million Americans were under record-breaking heat advisories.
The problem of extreme heat is only exacerbated in urban areas, where cement, high population density, and low tree coverage combine to produce what is known as the urban heat island effect. In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacoima, home to over 100,000 residents, summer temperatures regularly exceed 100ºF, making it one of the hottest neighborhoods in the L.A. area.
To cool down the community, GAF embarked on a first-of-its-kind project to install and study the effect of solar-reflective pavement coatings, in partnership with Climate Resolve, the Global Cool Cities Alliance, Pacoima Beautiful, and other community groups and representatives. Together, they applied nearly 1 million square feet of GAF’s StreetBond® InvisibleShade solar-reflective pavement coatings across 10 square blocks of Pacoima, including neighborhood streets, parking lots, a community park, and an elementary school playground.
Over the next two years, GAF is partnering with climate scientists to measure the impact of this initiative and its effect on ambient temperatures in the neighborhood. As of summer 2023, the reflective coatings have reduced air temperatures at 6 feet above ground by up to 3.5ºF during days of extreme heat and surface temperatures by an average of 10ºF. The results also demonstrate that coated pavements warm up slower in the morning, cool down faster in the afternoon, and even cause decreased temperatures in areas downwind of the treatment area.
With these promising first-year results from Pacoima, GAF hopes to scale this unprecedented community project to fight extreme heat to more cities across the globe.