Interactive Map Reveals Rooftop Reflectance for Five California Cities

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The below is shared from Berkeley Lab in a September 2014 news release. Learn more here.


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 can check out the map at AlbedoMap.lbl.gov.

The map offers a bird’s-eye view of rooftop albedo across entire cities. You can also zoom in to see the albedo of an individual roof, and how it compares with the albedo of a white roof, the albedo of a cool-colored roof, and the average albedo of all the roofs in the city.

The map is intended to help homeowners and commercial property owners better understand their roof reflectance. It’s also intended to help policymakers visualize the albedo of each city’s current roofing stock, and inform the development of policies that could lead to cooler cities.

It was developed by cool roof experts in Berkeley Lab’s Heat Island Group, which is part of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division, with help from Berkeley Lab’s Public Affairs Department. The California Air Resources Board funded the research behind the map.

What exactly is albedo, and why do scientists want to map it? Albedo is the fraction of sunlight that is reflected from a surface. It is measured on a scale of zero to one, where higher numbers indicate greater reflectance and a cooler surface.

Read more at Berkeley Lab’s September 23rd 2014 news release here.

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