United States Cool Surfaces Deployment Plan
Solar-reflective building envelope surfaces, such as cool roofs and walls, can be especially helpful in disadvantaged communities that often have poorly insulated older homes, aging or absent air conditioning units, steep utility bills, polluted air, and high vulnerability and exposure to extreme heat. With support from the U.S. Department of Energy, our project seeks to dramatically increase the climate-appropriate deployment of cool surfaces across the United States with an emphasis on their application to disadvantaged communities.
First, we sought to identify cool-surface deployment barriers, opportunities, and models by (a) reviewing the history of cool-surface deployment activities, (b) interviewing cool-surface stakeholders, (c) researching successful energy-efficiency/green building deployment models; and (d) interviewing the actors who have implemented these models. Second, we conducted a workshop to engage stakeholders in development of a deployment plan. Third, we asked six U.S. federal agencies (a) how cool surfaces and cool surface stakeholders could support their missions and (b) how agency activities could support cool-surface deployment. Fourth, we identified a set of transformative ideas that form the core of the deployment plan.
Transformative ideas include but are not limited to initiatives to (a) launch an educational campaign to make the general public and building professionals aware of how cool roofs and walls exclude unwanted solar heat; (b) create a “Cool Roof Prize” stimulating the development of affordable, high-performance cool asphalt roofing shingles; (c) conduct high-profile, large-scale demonstration programs that bring cool surfaces to disadvantaged heat-vulnerable communities; and (d) support local, regional, and state climate action (heat mitigation) plans with cool surfaces.