Louisville, Kentucky Cool Roof Rebates

In 2016, the Louisville, Kentucky Office of Sustainability commissioned a study from Georgia Tech’s Urban Climate Lab to map the hottest areas of the city. The study revealed that not only was Louisville’s urban heat island one of the most severe in the nation, but the hottest areas of the city were also where the most vulnerable frontline communities were located. The study recommended a variety of interventions, including policies promoting cool surfaces, increased vegetation, and energy efficiency strategies, with each of the interventions combining to be greater than the sum of each when deployed in the same area. One of the interventions that Louisville implemented was a rebate for cool roofs that property owners installed on their buildings. In order to ensure that some of the voluntary funding was allocated for low-income, more vulnerable areas, the office designated 70% of the funding to go to neighborhoods identified in the study as having the most severe heat islands. While rebates can be difficult for low-income property owners, the techniques used to target the program to areas of the highest need can be replicated in other places for grants or no-interest loans. The program was funded through a partnership with Louisville’s energy utility. 

Based on the Urban Heat Manage Study conducted in 2016, the Louisville Metro Office of Sustainability initiated the Cool Roof Rebate Program in 2017. Eight Metro Council Districts in Louisville were identified as high heat areas in the study and thus citizens in those districts were eligible for the rebate program. Under the rules of the rebate program, property owners can get a rebate of $1 per square foot of a cool roof, with each house eligible for no more than $2,000. For commercial housing, each property owner can get no more than $5,000 for new or retrofitted flat or low-sloped roofs or $10,000 for steep-sloped roofs. These installations or replacements must be certified by the Cool Roof Rating Council or Energy Star. The Office aimed to install at least 100,000 square feet of a new cool roof. This rebate program can reduce the urban heat while saving energies which provide an effective built environment tool for local governments to incentivize property owners to install cool roof rebates. 

Publication Date: March 2017

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  • City of Louisville, Kentucky

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