L.A. is already trying to reduce the effect of its 'urban heat island'

L.A. is already trying to reduce the effect of its 'urban heat island'
Heat waves rise and distort Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles during a major heat wave in 2013. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

To the editor: I was happy to read about Los Angeles' goal of cooling the city from the urban heat island effect, but there were key omissions to the story. ("How scientists plan to reduce the temperature in Los Angeles by 3 degrees," Feb. 9)

First, L.A. is already taking action. In 2014, Los Angeles became the first city in the U.S. to require cool roofs on all new and rehabbed residential construction. This will have a dramatic cooling effect on the region, and homeowners will benefit from lower indoor temperatures and savings of 10% to 20% a year on their utility bills.


Second, while the heat island effect doesn't directly contribute to climate change, hotter temperatures cause an increase in air conditioning of homes, offices and cars — and the resulting emissions contribute to global warming.

Reducing the urban heat island effect is a win for consumers, public health and the fight against climate change.

David Fink, Los Angeles

The writer is director of policy for Climate Resolve.


To the editor: Mayor Eric Garcetti is right: We must take action now. Each year, more Americans die as a result of heat than all other natural disasters combined. And the L.A. neighborhoods that have the least tree canopy — the northeast Valley and southeast L.A. — are at greatest risk for heat-related hospitalizations and deaths.

Given these challenges, TreePeople has launched two key initiatives.

One is the L.A. Urban Cooling Research Partnership, which seeks to quantify the public health benefits of using increased tree canopy cover to cool cities. The partnership includes TreePeople, Climate Resolve, Global Cool Cities Alliance and scientists from UCLA, Yale, the University of Miami and Cal State Northridge.

Another is the Green Streets/Calles Verdes Project with the city of San Fernando, which has received initial funding for a four-year, $1-million-plus project to transform seven streets with nearly 1,000 trees, drought-tolerant gardens and rainwater capture features. This is a viable model ready to scale across the region.

TreePeople has spent decades studying the art of cooling cities with tree cover. We are ready to bring our knowledge to the table for L.A.

Cindy Montañez, Van Nuys

The writer is chief executive of TreePeople.

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