Bright roofs, big city: Keeping L.A. cool through an aggressive cool-roof program

Los Angeles is one of the best places in the country for a relatively easy and cost-effective measure to improve public health, combat climate change, reduce energy demand, and save money: installing cool roofs. This brief will make a case for accelerating adoption of cool roofs in Los Angeles and will recommend law and policy strategies for achieving that goal.

Using a dataset of L.A. rooftops and some conservative estimates of energy savings, the analysis here shows that Los Angeles residents could save $30 million a year if the city significantly improved its adoption of cool roofs on new and existing buildings.  This same switch to cool roofs in Los Angeles would also provide a climate change benefit, cooling the atmosphere enough to offset the warming caused by up to 40 million metric tons of emitted CO2 in some scenarios, which is nearly 80% of the city’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions and an amount of CO2 emitted by more than seven million cars on the road for a year.

Source: Anthony Pritzker Environmental Law and Policy Briefs: Emmett Center on Climate Change and Environment, UCLA School of Law

Publication Date: October 2011

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