Author Archives: Kurt

Kurt Shickman is the Executive Director of Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA) and the Cool Roofs and Cool Pavements Toolkit.

Announcing the Rosenfeld Urban Cooling Achievement Award

The Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA) has established an award to honor the legacy and impact of Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld’s advocacy for cooler buildings, cooler cities, and a cooler planet. Dr. Rosenfeld was a founder of GCCA and a tireless advocate for building materials that improve thermal comfort and make a positive impact on global  Read More…

Without Cool and Green Surfaces, Cities Leave Billions of Dollars on the Table

We have known for a long time that smarter roof choices significantly improve cities and the people who live and work in them. This new report from Washington DC’s municipal government and Capital E quantifies the benefits cool, green, and solar roofs make in efficiency, air quality, health, stormwater, urban heat reduction and shows that  Read More…

President’s Climate Preparedness Task Force Releases Recommondations

Yesterday, the White House State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force On Climate Preparedness and Resilience released their recommendations to improve climate adaptation and resiliency planning for cities and states around the country.  Climate Central spells out what’s in the report, and notes the panel’s interest in collecting data to pinpoint needs and challenges: The  Read More…

New Thinking on Cool Roofs in Cool Climates

I wrote an article for Roofing Magazine’s September/October edition that examines some of the new research that is toppling the myth that cool roofs are not suitable in cool climates.  You can check it out over at their website.  I focus on two studies in the article, but these two are only the latest analyses  Read More…

Keeping Surfaces Stronger and Longer Lasting with Reflectivity

It is well-known that surfaces that stay cooler do not expand and contract as much as those that get hotter. Reduced thermal expansion can mean longer lasting roofs, solar panels, concrete, and other surfaces. Coatings manufacturer Epox-Z’s recent press release highlights a new product that minimizes thermal cracking — a major cause of concrete failure.  Read More…

Is Increasing Reflectivity Risky for Cities? Nope.

Earlier this year, Altostratus and CalEPA rolled out a UHI Index that quantifies the intensity of urban heat. For the first time, we can now measure and visualize the severity of the heat challenges facing cities. You can check out the details from CalEPA here. This really is a great new tool that we’d like  Read More…

New Infographic Explains Peak Savings from Cool Roofs

Sika USA, a roofing manufacturer, has a series of really good infographics covering a variety of cool roof topics. The latest shows how cool roofs help building owners save significantly on their energy bills by reducing peak demand charges. The graphic clarifies an important but complicated and fairly wonky issue. Check it out on their  Read More…

Cool Roofs Save Lives During Global Killer Heat Waves

NOAA has been tracking rising temperatures around the world and it seems each month we see new reports of record setting heat. According to NOAA records, May was the hottest year on record, and it looks like 2015 is on track to beat last year for overall temperatures. Extreme heat events are happening all over  Read More…

National Adaptation Forum

Last week, GCCA joined over other 825 professionals in St. Louis last week to discuss the latest in urban-scale climate adaptation at the National Adaptation Forum. It was a great and energizing opportunity to meet with a diverse set of representatives from cities, tribes, utilities, and the private sector who share a common goal to  Read More…

France Mandates Sustainable Roofs

France has recently approved a requirement that new commercial roofs must be partially covered with vegetation or solar panels.  This is a first of its kind requirement, and has generated a lot of coverage as a result, including National Geographic, Architecture and Design, Triple Pundit, and many others. This requirement is an exciting step to  Read More…

Climate Change and Geoengineering

There has been a lot of press coverage of the decision by the National Academy of Science to study the feasibility and safety of large-scale geoengineering as a means to address climate change. It is hard to believe that we are at a stage where we must consider such drastic strategies. Much of the conversation  Read More…

Capturing the Peak Demand Reductions from Cool Roofs

A new paper from Dr. James Hoff highlights the significant, and previously unquantified, peak energy cost savings that cool roofs deliver.  Up until now, energy analyses of cool roofs only looked at the impact on base power consumption but ignored the impact of capacity demand charges.  Turns out, those demand charges can be a big  Read More…

Cool Roofs Perform Well in Cool Climates

Stan Graveline of Sika Sarnafil wrote a great piece defending the use of cool roofs in cooler areas of the country. He does a great job laying out the science, as well as the fact that billions of square feet of cool roofs are installed in northern areas and performing well. Check it out at  Read More…

Study Shows How Increased Reflectivity Can Save Lives

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently published a report, in which they took a look at past heat waves in Phoenix, AZ, Philadelphia, PA and Atlanta, GA. This study shows that by adding white roofs, reflective pavement and trees, cities can counteract temperature increases in urban areas and save lives. From an article byClimateWire  Read More…

Grist Covers Cool Roofs and Art Rosenfeld in Climate Hacker Series

Ben Mandel does a great piece for Grist on Art, his legacy in California, and his championing of cool roofs.  Check it outhere.

Cool Roofs in UAE

A recent article about the benefits of cool roofing installed at Masdar in the United Arab Emirates points out a lot of what we already know about cool roofing saving energy etc.  The article is worth a read, but especially for the great photo of the researchers walking on the white roof with bare feet!   Read More…

Five Ways We’re Already Killing Ourselves with Climate Change

Yesterday, the Obama Administration released the Third National Climate Assessment. This is the most comprehensive look at how human activity is changing our climate – and it’s not good news. Grist lays out 5 ways climate change is already harming us, and urban heat comes into play in two of the five points. Urban heat  Read More…

Using the Roof Savings Calculator

The Roof Savings Calculator (RSC) is a joint initiative of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and White Box Technologies that models the energy use impact of various residential and commercial roof structure choices via a simple online interface. Building owners, contractors, and manufacturers use the RSC to support roof decision-making, and as  Read More…

Responding to ‘Ballast Cooler Than You Think’

The recent article by Annie McCarren called ‘Ballast Cooler Than You Think’ published in Environmental Design and Construction provides an overview of the “cool” properties of thermally massive ballasted roofs.  We largely agree that ballasted roofs can be a good roofing option under the right circumstances.  There are, however, a few inaccuracies in the article  Read More…

Sustain Magazine Features Cool Roofs GCCA Article

GCCA recently submitted a short article to the University of Louisville’s SUSTAIN Magazine summarizing the building, city, and global benefits of reflective surfaces. While this won’t be news to many of you, I think it is always helpful to try to raise awareness amongst new audiences.

GCCA Discusses Cool Roofs on NPR

GCCA’s Executive Director, Kurt Shickman participated in the Midday with Dan Rodricks show on NPR station WYPR in Baltimore. I was joined Joan Jacobson, author of the newly released Cool Roofs for a Cooler Baltimore report for the Abell Foundation. The show aired at noon on Thursday, October 31st. Here is a link to the  Read More…

GCCA Releases Cool Roofs and Global Cooling Issue Brief

There are a number of papers that support the idea that reflecting solar energy back out into space would offset the warming effect of atmospheric CO2. For a high-level overview of how it works and the state of the research, check out this GCCA Issue Brief. GCCA regularly publishes Issue Briefs on hot topics covering  Read More…

GCCA Releases Cool Roofs and Global Cooling Issue Brief

There are a number of papers that support the idea that reflecting solar energy back out into space would offset the warming effect of atmospheric CO2. For a high-level overview of how it works and the state of the research, check out this GCCA Issue Brief. GCCA regularly publishes Issue Briefs on hot topics covering  Read More…