Cool Communities Research

This page last reviewed November 21, 2016

cool pavements photo In 2007, ARB identified voluntary “cool communities” programs as an early action measure for reducing greenhouse gas emissions under AB32. In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, cool communities strategies—including cool roofs and cool pavements—can reduce temperatures and related heat stress; reduce air pollutants; and decrease building cooling energy use. Strategies that can simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the temperature and air quality impacts from climate change offer tremendous potential to ensure the health of our communities. ARB’s Cool Communities research focuses on quantifying the potential climate change impacts and co-benefits from cool communities’ strategies and providing tools and technical assistance to advance their voluntary adoption.

Completed Research Projects

Using remote sensing to quantify albedo of roofs in seven California cities This project examined the existing stock of roofs on California buildings and the associated albedos, which is necessary for quantifying the climate benefits of increasing urban albedo through the widespread application of “cool” roofs and pavements. Through this project a protocol was developed for measuring the albedo of building roofs and a database was created listing the building roof albedos in major California cities.


Developing Databases to Estimate California-specific Climate Forcing Benefits of Cool Roofs This project developed California-specific information on roofing stocks and the associated albedos, which is necessary for improved estimates of the climate benefits of increasing urban albedo through the widespread application of “cool” roofs and pavements.

Active Research Projects

Life Cycle Assessment and Co-benefits of Cool Pavements This project will conduct a life cycle assessment that will evaluate the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, and impacts on local climate and air quality of traditional and cool pavements. A pavement strategy guidance tool will be created to help local decision-makers as they consider adopting cool pavements in their Climate Action Planning.

Cool Communities (link to LBNL webpage) Sponsored by ARB and the California Energy Commission, this project aims to provide technical assistance for ARB’s development of a “cool community” program to save energy and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The project will create a database of cool roof projects in CA; cool roof and cool pavement demonstrations; provide cool roof information on; and provide courses for builders/contractors.

Check out ARB's list of all active and completed research projects relating to cool communities.

Related Resources

For more information on ARB's Cool Communities Research, please contact Maggie Witt at (916) 324-9061.