It’s another hot day in Pacoima.

Don’t you wish there was something you could do about it?

Well, there is. It’s called cool pavements. Using simple science, when black asphalt pavement is coated with a  special material, sunlight will bounce back into space, and disperse heat along with it. And now, cool pavements are in Pacoima. Global Cool Cities Alliance, Climate Resolve and GAF, North America’s Largest Roofing and Waterproofing Manufacturer, have partnered with Pacoima Beautiful, Urban Semillas, Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, StreetsLA, LA Department of Recreation & Parks, and the Los Angeles Unified School District to launch the GAF Cool Community Project-Pacoima.

Click here to watch the full-length story on the GAF Cool Community project.

Click here to download a PDF of the Cool Community Pacoima Playbook .

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. The study revealed reductions of ambient air temperatures by as much as 3.5°F during extreme heat events and a 25-50% reduction in the local census-tract urban heat island effect during temperature peaks. The results reinforce the efficacy of cool pavement technology as one strategy to help cities tackle extreme heat, particularly in communities like Pacoima, one of the hottest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, that have been underinvested in when it comes to climate solutions.

This initiative took a community-wide approach to mitigating heat through cool pavement coatings, including testing two adjacent and similar sections of the community to compare, side-by-side, before and after coating with reflective pavements. Coatings were applied to more than 700,000 square feet of dark asphalt surfaces in the community of Pacoima, outside of Los Angeles, including streets, basketball courts, playgrounds, and parking lots.

You can learn more about the published findings here.

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 what they learned 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.