Los Angeles officials have decided to paint the city’s streets white and the reason is so satisfying. With this new tactic they’re hoping to combat climate change. Many streets of Los Angeles are already covered in a grayish-white coating, also known as CoolSeal.
Like a lot of other big cities over the world, Los Angeles is crossed by thousands of miles of dark-colored asphalt. And it is known that this type of surface absorbs almost 95 percent of the sun’s rays, creating an heating effect not over the streets but over the whole surrounding area. The temperatures in Southern California are frequently reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit and in this situation the asphalt can reach up to 150 degrees. And because of this the average air temperature in the city is 22 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in nearby areas. This phenomenon is known as the “urban heat island effect.”
“Heat islands occur on the surface and in the atmosphere. On a hot, sunny summer day, the sun can heat dry, exposed urban surfaces, such as roofs and pavement, to temperatures 50–90°F hotter than the air1, while shaded or moist surfaces—often in more rural surroundings—remain close to air temperatures,” it is shown in a statement of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Now, with the help of CoolSeal technology, the amount of heat absorbed by the asphalt is considerably lower, because the sun’s rays are reflected off the asphalt. According to the Bureau of Street Services, with CoolSeal the average temperature on the city’s streets will be with 10 to 15 degrees lower. According to the company website: “CoolSeal is applied like conventional sealcoats to asphalt surfaces to protect and maintain the quality and longevity of the surface. While most cool pavements on the market are polymer based, CoolSeal is a water-based, asphalt emulsion.” Anyway, this new type of asphalt is far from cheap, with an estimated cost of $40,000 per mile.
“Climate change is a fact of life that people in Los Angeles and cities around the world live with every day. It is a grave threat to our health, our environment, and our economy — and it is not debatable or negotiable,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, said.
You can watch how the CoolSeal is applied on the LA streets, in the video bellow. Tell us what do you think about this innovative idea in a comment!