Los Angeles is spending $40,000 per mile to paint streets white — and it could have a surprising ripple effect on the city

Jeremy Berke
Los Angeles is spending $40,000 per mile to paint streets white — and it could have a surprising ripple effect on the city

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Los Angeles is painting some of its streets white in an effort to keep the city cool.

The white seal coat, made by a company called GuardTop, is sprayed on roads by a truck. A team of city workers with squeegees then distribute the seal coat evenly across the surface.

Dark-colored or black asphalt absorbs 80-95% of the sun's rays, heating up LA's streets up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The light-coated streets, on the other hand, reflect much more of the sun's rays, and are an average of 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than regular asphalt streets.

While the coatings last for around seven years, they are expensive, costing about $40,000 per mile. 

But these cooler streets also reflect less heat onto buildings, saving on air conditioning costs and reducing the impact of climate change. 

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