A Practical Guide to Cool Roofs and Cool Pavements

The Practical Guide to Cool Roofs and Cool Pavements is a component of the Global Cool Cities Alliance's (GCCA) Cool Roofs and Cool Pavements Toolkit. This Guide is intended to aid a variety of stakeholders in their efforts to implement cool roofs and pavements initiatives. As such, the Guide includes a range of technical and policy advice. Some of the information in this guide is designed for city leaders and policymakers - focusing on decision tools, city wide costs and benefits, and case studies. Other information is fairly technical and will be most useful to building operators, facilities managers, transportation engineers, developers, and roofing contractors.

The first half of the Guide is a primer with background information on the function and benefits of cool roofs and pavements. “Choosing Cool Surfaces” describes and compares the different options for cool roofs and pavements, along with information on prices and maintenance. The primer offers information about cool, vegetated, solar, and insulated roofs; comparing the availability, cost, and climate adaptation or mitigation benefits of each strategy.

These cool surfaces technologies are a powerful tool to counter the rising temperatures produced by climate change. The beneficial impacts of cool roofs and pavements are especially valuable in urban areas, where roofs and pavements cover about 60% of urban surfaces and absorb more than 80% of the sunlight which hits them. Cool roofs reflect more sunlight, cooling their building and reducing energy usage.

Cool pavements operate on the same principle, absorbing less solar energy and mitigating the urban heat island effect - even improving water quality by reducing the temperature of stormwater runoff. Vegetated roofs reduce stormwater runoff and improve air quality. Cool roofing techniques and roof insulation can be implemented together, resulting in a "high-performance roofing system."

The Implementation Activities/Guide section of the guide offers best practices, case studies, and guidance for a variety of different cool roof and pavement program strategies. Implementation Activities are roughly broken into Programs and Policies. Implementation Activities can be undertaken in any order, or conducted in parallel since many are designed to be mutually supportive. Programs such as contests or volunteer projects and incentives in the forms of rebates or loans can help promote and encourage the usage of cool roofing and pavement technologies.




Publication Date: January 2012

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