The struggling Los Angeles, California neighborhood of Pacoima has one of the world’s worst heat island effects.
So, that where the GAF Cool Community Project will begin its assessment and mitigation of the impacts of the urban heat island effect in landlocked and underserved cities.
GAF is North America’s largest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer. On march 18, 2022, they announced the launch of the GAF Cool Community Project, an initiative designed to assess and help mitigate the impact of urban heat on a community.
GAF has partnered with Climate Resolve, the Global Cool Cities Alliance, local community organizations and municipal government partners to conduct a multi-phased research project to understand the impacts of urban heat and cooling solutions have on the livability of the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacoima.
“Extreme heat can have incredibly negative impacts on a community’s quality of life and this research is an important first step to learn how we can help curb urban heat in not only Pacoima but also communities across the country,” said Ashish Kulkarni, Chief Innovation Officer at GAF.
“At GAF, we believe resilience is the foundation of thriving, sustainable communities, and as leaders in the industry we will continue to invest in opportunities to drive change through innovation and make a positive social impact,” he added.
The initiative will benchmark and monitor the surface and ambient air temperatures in the community as well as evaluate qualitative measures, such as awareness of the impact of extreme heat, outdoor community engagement and play opportunities.
After gathering initial data, GAF will implement cooling strategies, starting with installing StreetBond reflective pavement coatings, in a 10-square block area of Pacoima to better understand how such solutions can help improve the livability of the neighborhood and provide community members opportunities to connect and play all year round.
“The Los Angeles community knows firsthand the impacts of extreme heat and Pacoima is one of the hottest areas in Los Angeles having warmed nearly two degrees since 1955,” said Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director of Climate Resolve.
“This is a community in great need of relief and this project will make a great difference for this neighborhood and the larger LA community as we work to build a just and resilient future with GAF, the City of Los Angeles and the Global Cool Cities Alliance,” he added.
GAF has previously worked with the City of Los Angeles’ Cool Streets Project and the LA Unified School District to improve 65 playgrounds at schools as well as many streets throughout the area with cool, reflective pavement coatings. The company was recently recognized for its work in the area at Climate Resolve’s Coolest in LA awards gala.
An estimated 85% of Americans, around 280 million people, live in metropolitan areas and as the climate continues to change, many urban areas are experiencing extreme heat or “heat island effect.” In some cases, daytime temperatures can be 1–7°F higher than temperatures in outlying areas and nighttime temperatures about 2–5°F higher.
“Our focus is on advancing policies and programs that promote efficient and comfortable buildings, healthy and resilient cities, and mitigate the warming effects of climate change,” said Maria Koetter, Executive Director of the Global Cool Cities Alliance.
“We are excited to partner on this research and further accelerate a worldwide transition to cooler, healthier cities. This work will potentially influence how we address urban heat at a state, national and even a global level going forward,” she continued.
GAF and its partners hope to take the learnings from this research and model this project in other communities, implementing cooling strategies and continuing to build awareness of the negative impacts of extreme heat on not only the environment but also the livelihoods of a community.