The roof of a home or business is a valuable asset for any property owner, working to protect the building from the environment and to keep the insides cool or warm, depending on the season. It can even work to save the property money if made from the right materials. A metal roof, for instance, can save as much as 25% on annual energy bills by reflecting the suns rays. However, the city of Los Angeles is trying a new technique to achieve the same results, and without tearing apart rooftops to replace the materials.
A local business in the area, GuardTop, is looking to coat the city streets in a special grey treatment to reduce the heat of the city. Los Angeles summers can easily surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit, often pushing into the 110’s and higher. Like most cities, it has streets covered in black asphalt, both on the road and on shingle roofs.
Asphalt absorbs 80% to 95% of sunlight, and that’s what the coating from GuardTop hopes to reduce. So far, a single coating of the grey treatment demonstrated a potential drop of the street temperatures by around seven degrees Celsius, or 44 degrees Fahrenheit.
Greg Spotts, Assistant Director of LA’s Bureau of Street Services, said that they hope the product is successful. And if it is, perhaps other cities in California will adopt it, too.
“We’re hoping to inspire other cities to experiment with different ways to reduce the heat island effect,” he said. “And we’re hoping to get manufacturers to come up with some new products.”
Spotts also pointed out that, with the temperatures seemingly on the rise due to climate change, there could be a market for this material elsewhere. Especially in locations that experience extreme heats.
“Potentially there could be a huge market for cool pavement products, and in fact, it’s part of a much larger economic trend where solutions for climate change could be the next great investments for the future,” Spotts added.
Los Angeles city officials will be monitoring how the population reacts to the new asphalt, and how quickly the material is worn down by the city’s traffic. Given the incredibly thick and chaotic nature of LA’s traffic, something that is almost as famous as the California sunshine, the coating might not be a viable option for busier areas of the city.