COOL SURFACES IN PACOIMA
It’s another hot day in Pacoima.
Don’t you wish there was something you could do about it?
As you know, the community of Pacoima is one of the hottest areas in Los Angeles. One of the contributing factors is the urban heat island effect where roads and buildings absorb heat from the sun leading to higher surface and air temperatures that can in turn affect our health, particularly the health of children, the elderly, and those with chronic illness.
Urban heat often affects lower income neighborhoods and communities of color who have suffered from decades old policies that reinforced racial segregation in cities and diverted investment away from minority neighborhoods in ways that created large disparities in where trees were planted and government resources were allocated.
The GAF Cool Community Project-Pacoima includes coating 18 square blocks of street, a school playground and a recreation center parking lot with StreetBond. StreetBond, a water-based epoxy pavement coating, blocks the pavement from absorbing much of the sun’s radiation, thus reducing surface temperature.
Future phases of the project may include cool roofs and the installation of solar shingles on Pacoima-area homes and businesses.
The GAF Cool Community Project-Pacoima will also capture scientific research. The project will be monitored by Altostratus, who developed the State of California’s Urban Heat Island Index. Altostratus will collect data prior to project implementation, to establish a baseline. Then, after the cool pavements are installed, a mobile monitor will measure the surface and air temperature, as well as the reflectivity of the pavement. A control area will also be monitored the social benefits such as outdoor comfort and heat awareness will also be assessed. We will work with local artists and community members to beautify the area with murals, art and storytelling.
The partnership behind the GAF Cool Community Project-Pacoima hopes the project will yield many benefits including fewer heat related health problems, a reduction in the urban heat island, and even a small reduction in the greenhouse effect that is causing climate change. The 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.