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 What is "Cool Communities"

"Cool Communities"...

Cool Communities Mission Statement:

"Our mission is to promote healthy and livable communities by advocating urban heat island mitigation using sustainable cost-effective strategies for development, construction and existing structure retro-fitting."


This NASA infrared photo, taken of Hartsfield Atlanta Airport, shows how paving materials can increase temperatures.

Cool Communities Sustainable Design "System"

Using all of these measures together as a "system" greatly increases the effectiveness of heat island mitigation. Strategies can be applied by planners and other decision-makers to mitigate air quality degradation, improve water quality and reduce stormwater runoff. These measures offer a cost-effective and innovative approach to pollution prevention, providing tremendous benefit for minimal cost. They are non-regulatory; they do not require behavior modification, they can be implemented for new development as well as introduced during retro-fitting and normal maintenance cycles, plus they provide significant ancillary benefits in energy savings and creating more pleasant urban environments.

Conclusions and Implementation

Increasing reflectivity, reducing heat storage capacity, and more extensive tree plants work together as a system and can be implemented in a variety of ways. In general this would mean using lighter colored roofing (with sufficient insulation), more tree planting and protection, and the use of porous concrete and lighter colored paving instead of standard asphalt for parking and driveway surfaces.

Cool Communities is a non-profit action-oriented advocacy program aimed at improving urban environments and conserving energy by promoting the use of lighter, reflective (high albedo) roofing and paving materials in combination with strategically planted shade trees as a desirable design "system." In Georgia, Cool Communities has created public and private partnerships in support of these efforts to mitigate the impact of the Urban Heat Island.

Nationally the program is sponsored by the U. S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Each "Cool Community" organization is responsible for its own funding, generally through grants, contributions, and foundation support.

For information on how to make your community a "Cool Community," please contact us through this web site.