Los Angeles paints its streets white

The Los Angeles’ local government has painted a number of streets white in an effort to lower temperatures.

Coating a road in a lighter colour can reflect heat, as opposed to dark asphalt which absorbs 80 – 95% of sunlight.

The layering costs up to $40,000 per mile and lasts for five to seven years.

According to Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services results from preliminary testing have shown that a light grey coating reduces temperatures by 10 degrees.

The Cool Pavement Pilot Project is taking place across the city, where a product called CoolSeal was first applied to Jordan Avenue in Canoga Park.

Maria Jimenez, a Jordan Avenue resident, told the Los Angeles Daily News "Now, it’s a few degrees cooler. If it wasn’t for this street, the heat wave would make my apartment hotter."

Since then more tests have been carried out in Laurel Canyon (pictured) and Westchester.

The Bureau of Street Services say the goal of the project is to decrease "the risk of heat-related deaths and to save energy by reducing air conditioning".

A study by the American Meteorological Society found that 1,000 people die per year due to extreme heat in the U.S.

A record temperature for Downtown L.A. was set in July this year at 98F (36.6C).

Other ways to combat the "Urban Heat Island" are to increase the amount of trees lining the streets and to use roof cooling products.

A recent Canadian study showed that even a single tree in an urban environment can decrease heating costs and moderate wind speeds.

Los Angeles major Eric Garcetti has pledged to reduce the temperature in the city by three degrees over the next 20 years according to local newspaper The L.A. Times.

Greg Spotts, assistant director of the Bureau of Street Services, said: "We’re hoping to inspire other cities to experiment with different ways to reduce the heat island effect. And we’re hoping to get manufacturers to come up with some new products."

"Potentially there could be a huge market for cool pavement products and, in fact, it’s part of a much larger economic trend where solutions for climate change could be the next great investments for the future."

GuardTop, the firm behind CoolSeal said: "The benefits of cool pavements extend beyond just cooling the local ambient air.

"More reflective parking lots allow building owners and cities to save on energy needed to illuminate streets and parking lots."

Images: The coating being applied in Laurel Canyon (Greg Spotts’ Twitter page)

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