News

August 23, 2023
Since early July, the Earth has sweltered under record-breaking heat. In the United States, from California and the Desert Southwest to Texas and Florida, a long-lasting heat wave in the triple digits has broken dozens of heat records – and counting. To mitigate the risks of living in extreme heat, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)... Read more
August 24, 2022
By the middle of this century, temperatures in some California cities are expected to be in the triple digits for a third of the year. That’s dangerously hot. Heat already kills more people each year than any other weather-related disaster, including hurricanes, floods, or winter storms, and as the mercury rises the toll is expected to keep climbing. Researchers and scientists from across the... Read more
December 17, 2021
Scientists have developed an all-season smart-roof coating that keeps homes warm during the winter and cool during the summer without consuming natural gas or electricity. Research findings reported in the journal Science point to a groundbreaking technology that outperforms commercial cool-roof systems in energy savings. “Our all-season roof coating automatically switches from keeping you cool... Read more
May 18, 2021
Sunlight-reflecting “cool walls” have been shown to reduce energy costs by lowering heat gain in buildings. But they do more – reflective walls can also cool cities, fighting the urban heat island effect. The concept has new support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which has issued a pilot credit for the installation of cool exterior walls in new homes, schools, and commercial... Read more
June 25, 2019
Last week Ronnen Levinson, leader of the Berkeley Lab Heat Island Group, was featured on NPR's Science Friday broadcast. He was invited to join the program to discuss cool surfaces and other city-cooling strategies on the segment "Hot Enough For You? Cooling The Worsening Urban Heat Island". Other speakers included former Heat Island Group scientist George Ban-Weiss (University of Southern... Read more
April 26, 2019
The Heat Island Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is collaborating with the broader urban heat island (UHI) countermeasures community to identify and assess UHI countermeasures (e.g., high-reflectance surfaces, wet surfaces, shading) and other passive building energy efficiency strategies (e.g., increased thermal mass or ventilation) that help individuals and cities... Read more
November 8, 2018
Our collaborator Global Cool Cities just announced the Million Cool Roofs Challenge -- an unprecedented, $2 million effort to create cooler communities in places that need it most. The Challenge is made up of two parts: an outcome-based $1 million challenge prize and a $1 million grant pool of up to ten $100,000 grants to support teams with their entry to the challenge. The final prize will be... Read more
October 9, 2018
A color developed by Egyptians thousands of years ago has a modern-day application as well – the pigment can boost energy efficiency by cooling rooftops and walls, and could also enable solar generation of electricity via windows.Egyptian blue, derived from calcium copper silicate, was routinely used on ancient depictions of gods and royalty. Previous studies have shown that when Egyptian blue... Read more
September 6, 2017
R&D Magazine's R&D 100 Awards, established 54 years ago, recognize 100 technologies and services introduced in the previous year deemed most significant by an independent panel of judges. This year's winners received the awards at a November 3 event in Washington, D.C.The Cool Roof Time Machine simulates soiling and weathering processes in the lab, reproducing in less than three days the... Read more
May 18, 2017
Berkeley Lab finds that the choice of pavement material can significantly impact carbon emissions, creates decision tool for cities to useCool pavements can help keep cities cool, right? Yes, but according to new research from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), many reflective pavements have some unexpected drawbacks relative to conventional pavements... Read more
November 9, 2016
Two projects within the Energy Technologies Area won honors at the 2016 R&D 100 Awards, an international science and technology competition. The research — Cool Roof Time Machine and Sustainable and Affordable Fluoride Removal (SAFR)—joins three other Berkeley Lab projects recognized among the past year's "most technologically significant products," according to R&D Magazine."Winning... Read more
September 21, 2016
Elementary school science teaches us that in the sun, dark colors get hot while white stays cool. Now new research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found an exception: Scientists have determined that certain dark pigments can stay just as cool as white by using fluorescence, the re-emission of absorbed light.The researchers tested this concept by coloring cool roof... Read more
July 27, 2016
While air conditioning temporarily cools, it’s making our world hotter. According to Berkeley Lab researchers, a crash program to maintain or establish three shade trees per building and make all roofs and pavement in U.S. cities reflective could decrease national cooling demand by 20 percent by driving temperatures lower.For more, read The Washington Post article from July 22, 2016.... Read more
April 12, 2016
Berkeley Lab is co-sponsoring the RCMA International Roof Coatings Conference. Join the cool roofing industry at the 2016 conference in Philadelphia this year. The event includes an exciting lineup of expert speakers and educational sessions, as well as a number of fun networking events and activities for our attendees.Dates: July 18-21, 2016Hotel: Sonesta Hotel PhiladelphiaLocation: Philadelphia,... Read more
April 12, 2016
Registration is now open for the Fourth International Conference on Countermeasure to Urban Heat Island (4th IC2UHI) 2016Singapore on 30-31 May and 1 June 2016.The theme of the conference: Countering Urban Heat Island (UHI) and Climate Change through Mitigation and Adaptation.The conference will be hosted by the Department of Building, National University of Singapore. The venue of the conference... Read more
December 22, 2015
New Berkeley Lab study uses regional climate model to compare heat waves to normal summer conditions.It is well established that white roofs can help mitigate the urban heat island effect, reflecting the sun’s energy back into space and reducing a city’s temperature under normal weather conditions. In a new study of Guangzhou, China, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)... Read more
April 14, 2015
Standards body approves Berkeley Lab’s method to mimic natural soiling of roofing materials.Cool roofs can help keep buildings cool, thus lowering the building’s energy use, while also mitigating the urban heat island effect by reflecting sunlight away from buildings and cities. But as cool roofs age and get soiled, how much of their reflectance do they lose?A collaboration led by scientists... Read more
November 20, 2014
Berkeley Lab scientists, including the Heat Island Group's Dr. Ronnen Levinson, each presented one of the Lab's 8 Big Ideas in front of a packed house in Oakland, CA on 8 October, 2014. His presentation, "Cool Roofs through Time and Space", featured the new California Cities Albedo Map. Related Video: https://youtu.be/n-2ZNCzYimw... Read more
October 7, 2014
California has completed the highest number of goals to prepare for climate change, followed by Massachusetts and New York, according to a first-of-its-kind 50-state tracking tool unveiled Thursday.In the last five years, there's been a burst of state efforts to deal with already occurring climate impacts such as more frequent storms and rising sea levels. They've ranged from elevating wastewater... Read more
September 28, 2014
Ronnen Levinson, Heat Island Group leader and staff scientist, was recently interviewed by Southern California Public Radio to discuss the new interactive rooftop reflectance map for California cities. You can view the article and listen to the radio segment here, and you can check out the map at AlbedoMap.LBL.gov.... Read more
September 27, 2014
How cool is your roof? If you live in the California cities of Bakersfield, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Jose, you may be able to find out.Scientists from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have created an interactive map that displays the solar reflectance (also known as albedo) of individual roofs in these five West Coast cities.You... Read more
September 11, 2014
The Heat Island Group, with support from the California Energy Commission and California Air Resources Board, developed a new web portal for local governments to learn more about the science and implementation of cool community strategies in California. The new portal features information on urban vegetation, cool roofs and cool pavements on CoolCalifornia.org. The website also includes... Read more
September 10, 2014
Whether playing fusion, bebop or modern jazz, bassist George Ban-Weiss loses himself in the passion, creativity and freedom of music, finding transcendence in his art.His willingness to push boundaries has made him a much in-demand musician. Ban-Weiss has appeared on dozens of albums, toured and played with scores of bands with different sounds and styles.“Improvised music has shown me the value... Read more
August 21, 2014
After three years of collaborative investigation, Ronnen Levinson and Jing Ge of LBNL's Heat Island Group co-authored a paper with Chinese researchers titled, "Cool roofs in China: Policy review, building simulations, and proof-of-concept experiments." Their work characterizes the potential for heat island mitigation, energy use, energy cost, and ambient air quality as a result of replacing dark... Read more
June 29, 2014
From his office in the Berkeley hills, Art Rosenfeld looks out on the heart of California's Bay Area. The 87-year-old scientist keeps a pencil and a small notebook in his breast pocket, ready to jot down a quick note or make a calculation. With these simple tools he has been able to influence state and national energy policy over the years. But for now they stay tucked away as he enjoys the... Read more