In Los Angeles, temperatures that exceed 38 degrees Celsius (100
degrees Fahrenheit) during the summer are not uncommon. Dark
pavement can contribute to these higher temperatures, but a
new asphalt treatment could reportedly cut street
temperatures by as many as 6.6 degrees Celsius (12 degrees
Fahrenheit) after just one coat.
Black asphalt absorbs between 80 and 95 of sunlight, but the
“cool pavement” treatment marketed by the California-based
sealcoating firm GuardTop
reflects it. This could have a big impact on street temperatures
and make life more comfortable for people in urban environments.
After successful testing the treatment in parking lots, Los
Angeles is ready to be the first major city to put it through its
paces on a public road. Officials will monitor how residents
react to the new pavement, as well as how long it takes for
conditions to soil the gray coloration of the coating.
As Alan Barreca, an environmental science professor at the
University of California, Los Angeles, told
AFP, “Lower temperatures — due to the pavement —
mean less reliance on air conditioning. So, that means less
However, despite the potential advantages of cool pavement
coatings, research conducted by the Department of Energy
indicated that they do have
some drawbacks in terms of the energy and emissions
associated with their manufacture, installation, use, and
By approaching the treatment with caution, rather than rushing
into a wide rollout, L.A. can determine whether these drawbacks
are outweighed by the benefits and make an educated decision on
how to proceed.
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