Los Angeles is first major city to mandate cool roofs on all new residences

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an update to the Municipal Building Code Dec. 17, 2013, making Los Angeles the first major city to require all new and refurbished homes to have a cool roof. The council hopes the amendment will help the city reduce the effects of global warming, according to kcet.org and climateresolve.org.

A cool roof uses material that naturally reflects sunlight instead of absorbing the sun's radiant energy. As a result, a roof's surface can be more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit cooler on a hot summer day and a building's interior can cool by several degrees Fahrenheit, reducing the chances of heat-related injuries or deaths.

University of California, Los Angeles research suggests that by midcentury, local temperatures will rise between 3.7 degrees Fahrenheit and 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Rising temperatures especially will be present during the summer and fall, with the number of "extreme heat" days above 95 F tripling in downtown Los Angeles and nearly quadrupling in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is expanding its incentive program for cool roofs to offset any additional costs the council's actions will have on homeowners. Current rebates for cool roof materials run between 20 and 30 cents per square foot.

Date : 1/9/2014