Systematic Comparison of the Influence of Cool Wall versus Cool Roof Adoption on Urban Climate in the Los Angeles Basin

Jiachen Zhang, Arash Mohegh, Yun Li, Ronnen Levinson, and George Ban-Weiss (2018). “Systematic Comparison of the Influence of Cool Wall versus Cool Roof Adoption on Urban Climate in the Los Angeles Basin.” Environmental Science & Technology 52 (19), 11188-11197 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b00732

Abstract: This study for the first time assesses the influence of employing solar reflective “cool” walls on the urban energy budget and summertime climate of the Los Angeles basin. We systematically compare the effects of cool walls to cool roofs, a heat mitigation strategy that has been widely studied and employed, using a consistent modeling framework (the Weather Research and Forecasting model). Adoption of cool walls leads to increases in urban grid cell albedo that peak in the early morning and late afternoon, when the ratio of solar radiation onto vertical walls versus horizontal surfaces is at a maximum. In Los Angeles County, daily average increase in grid cell reflected solar radiation from increasing wall albedo by 0.80 is 9.1 W m–2, 43% of that for increasing roof albedo. Cool walls reduce canyon air temperatures in Los Angeles by 0.43 K (daily average), with the peak reduction (0.64 K) occurring at 09:00 LST and a secondary peak (0.53 K) at 18:00 LST. Per 0.10 wall (roof) albedo increase, cool walls (roofs) can reduce summertime daily average canyon air temperature by 0.05 K (0.06 K). Results reported here can be used to inform policies on urban heat island mitigation or climate change adaptation.

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