Cool Communities

The Cool Communities Project, sponsored by the California Energy Commission and the California Air Resources Board, helps Californians develop and implement cool roof, cool pavement, and urban vegetation programs that save energy, reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, and improve the urban environment. Activities include cool roof and pavement demonstrations, a cool roof website for consumers, and training for building professionals and the general public.
The cool roof website is a resource for homeowners to identify cool roof products, incentives & rebates, and building codes. (Image courtesy of
Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in Richmond, CA, which adopted cool pavement coatings to qualify as a high performance school (Architect: Quattrocchi Kwok, landscape architect: Vallier Design Associates)
The Cool Pavement Showcase at Berkeley Lab features reflective pavement products in a variety of colors and materials (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, products donated by Emerald Cities Cool Pavement and Streetbond)

In 2006, California introduced the Global Warming Solutions Act (Assembly Bill 32), which requires California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Several "cool community" strategies, including cool roofs, cool pavements, cool walls and urban vegetation have been identified as effective voluntary measures with potential statewide emission reductions of 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. To help realize these savings, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has been tasked with advancing the science and implementation of cool community strategies.

The Cool Communities project provides technical assistance to California communities for the development of cool community programs that save energy, reduce emission of greenhouse gases, and improve the urban environment. This includes scientific research as well as educational and outreach efforts. Elements include:

  • A database of cool roof retrofit projects and case studies
  • Cool roof study and demonstration
  • Cool pavement study and demonstration
  • A cool roof website for consumers
  • Cool community courses
  • A cool roof survey instrument
  • A study of the effect of vegetation on community albedo
  • A study of the effect of multiple absorption and reflection on community albedo

As part of the outreach efforts in Cool Communities, LBNL hosted a technical seminar for local government officials on the benefits of reflective pavements in June 2012. See below for video footage of the event.

LBNL has also teamed with industry partners to demonstrate a range of cool pavement products, spanning a range of materials, colors, and manufacturers. See below for a video feature on LBNL's "Cool Pavement Showcase".


Haley Gilbert
(510) 486-7325

Benjamin Mandel
(510) 486-5529

Ronnen Levinson
Principal Investigator
(510) 486-7325

Part I
Part II
LBNL's "Cool Pavement Showcase"