Category Archives: Key Initiatives

Kurt Shickman Receives Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld Award

Kurt Shickman wins 2021 Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld Urban Cooling Achievement Award

February 2022

A Message from the GCCA Board – New Leadership and Rosenfeld Urban Cooling Achievement Award Winner

Thank you and Farewell to our GCCA Executive Director, Kurt Shickman

It is with mixed emotions that the GCCA board bids farewell to Kurt Shickman, who after ten years as GCCA’s Executive Director is moving on to become Director of the Extreme Heat Alliance at the Arsht Resilience Center. As GCCA’s director Kurt was a national and international leader in creating policies and programs to facilitate cool cities. We will miss Kurt’s dedication to scaling up efforts around cool surfaces, and his good humor. He leaves behind a solid organization that will continue working to spread cool city initiatives. The good news is that in Kurt’s new position he will lead an international initiative to reduce extreme heat risk for vulnerable people. We look forward to continuing to work with Kurt and policymakers to implement effective on-the-ground heat reduction initiatives.

Congratulations, Kurt! 2021 Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld Urban Cooling Achievement Award Winner

In recognition of Kurt’s decade of unparalleled leadership and inspiration as our GCCA Executive Director, the Board presented Kurt Shickman with the 2021 Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld Urban Cooling Achievement Award. Exemplary accomplishments during his tenure (2010-2021) included leading the Million Cool Roofs Challenge that installed more cool roofs in 18 months during a pandemic than New York City did in a decade, working with an active global network of 80 cities, and enhancing the role of cool roofs as a climate mitigation strategy through effective communication and implementation.

Welcome to GCCA’s Executive Director, Maria Koetter

Maria Koetter

We are more than pleased to announce that  Maria Koetter is the new Executive Director of GCCA. Maria has been a Program Director with GCCA for two years and led development of the Cool Roadways Partnership. Prior to joining GCCA Maria was the Director of Sustainability in Louisville, Kentucky. Her extensive experience and leadership with sustainability, climate adaptation, and resilience initiatives will ensure GCCA’s continued success toward implementing policies and programs that build resilience to extreme heat.


Extreme Heat in Reconciliation Legislation


A group of organizations have sent an open letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer to highlight the opportunity ofncorporating heat resilience into the reconciliation legislation and their broader agenda.  The letter lays out 9 recommendations for tackling extreme heat:

  1. Improve warning systems. Increasing awareness of the dangers from heat is the critical first step to protecting people.  Deploy health-based warnings that clearly communicate the threat and are targeted to reach the most vulnerable populations.
  2. Adopt an all-of-government approach to addressing heat. Coordinate activities on heat across agencies to reduce risk and support local initiatives. Mandate a national comprehensive federal heat action plan that incorporates elements from all relevant departments.
  3. Support local government and community-based organizations to develop community resilience centers to build social cohesion and replace ineffective cooling centers.
  4. Establish an all-of-government procurement guideline to require consideration of impact on heat from all government purchases and contracts.
  5. Promote equity by ensuring that a minimum of 40% of resources benefit BIPOC communities and vulnerable populations. Support local tree canopy equity projects.
  6. Create jobs by prioritizing passive cooling strategies to install reflective surfaces on roofs, streets and walls, plant trees.
  7. Generate and disseminate accurate and timely data on the health impacts of heat waves.
  8. Capitalize on the power of nature and use nature-based solutions like urban tree planting and green roofs
  9. Exercise your oversight role and require regular reports on actions taken to reduce risk of extreme heat by the administration.

Coalition Forms to Promote Resilience to Extreme Heat in Federal Infrastructure Talks

A diverse group of 20 organizations has drafted a letter (Heat in Federal Policy 7_29_21) to leaders in the White House and Capitol Hill to highlight the opportunity to include resilience to extreme heat in federal infrastructure talks.  The letter highlights the various short and long term investments to strengthen our communities to the threat of extreme heat that also deliver tremendous economic benefits to U.S. citizens and businesses.

Read the letter here.

Cool Roadways Solutions Available Today

In December 2020, the Cool Roadways Partnership released a Request for Information to better understand the rapidly growing market for products that improve the heat resilience of our roads and pavements.  Responses were received from 12 manufacturers, covering a wide range of seals, overlays, rejuvenation products and other solutions.  Their unedited RFI responses and supporting materials are provided below, along with summary materials.

If you have a solution but didn’t participate in the initial RFI, don’t worry.  We will be update the list regularly as we learn of new products and innovations.  Please contact for more details.

Summary Materials
Cool Roadway Solutions – All RFI Responses  May 24, 2020

Manufactuer Responses

ePave (ePave Cool Pavement Technology)
ePAVE-Cool Roadways Partnership Response to RFI
ePAVE White Paper
ePAVE Technical Bulletin
ePave SDS-2019 (Safety Data Sheet)

GAF (DuraShield)
GAF RFI Response 3-17-21

GuardTop (CoolSeal)
GuardTop RFI Response
GuardTop Brochure
GuardTop CoolSeal Facts
GuardTop CoolSeal RTU Specification
GuardTop CoolSeal ambient temp NASA data
GuardTop SDS CoolSeal (Safety Data Sheet)

Lhoist (Lhoist Mineral Slurry)
Lhoist LNA RFI Response

National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (Concrete Overlays)
NCPTC RFI Response

Pavement Surface Coatings (Endurablend)
PSC Endurablend RFI Response
PSC Friction test endurablend

Pavement Technology Inc. (PlusTI)
PTI RFI Response
PTI Supporting Docs_Videos RFI

Shepherd Color
Cool Roadways Solutions_ShepherdColor

ThermaCote (ThermaCote®)
Thermacote RFI response
Thermocote E303 Thermacote Sharp
ThermaCote LA Road Test

TopShell – Submitted November 2021
TopShell Introduction
TopShell Technical Data Sheet 2021
TopShell Safety Data Sheet
TopShell LLC Cool Roadway Solutions RFI
TopShell Color List 2021

Western Colloid (ArmorTop Stealth Grey)
Cool Roadways Solutions RFI – WesternColloid

Cool Roadways Partnership

Credit: LA Bureau of Street Services
The Cool Roadways Partnership has been transferred to the Smart Surfaces Coalition, effective October 15, 2023.  Existing CRP materials will remain available here.  Please visit the Smart Surfaces Coalition for the latest on CRP.
Cool Roadways Solutions Available Today 

Cool Roadways Partnership (CRP) Forms to Advance Cool Pavement Solutions: Faced with long-term projections of rising temperatures and growing urban heat islands, community leaders are collaborating to advance the use of solar reflective, “cool” roadway solutions. CRP members are in need of cool roadways to help cool their cities as well as for the pavement preservation benefits that they provide. CRP members developed a  request for information (RFI) to learn about the cool roadway solutions that are available today. The RFI served as an effective way to engage industry, spur innovation, and highlingt the need and market potential for cool roadway solutions.

CRP members are actively installing cool roadway pilot projects and full-scale cool roadway programs are already underway in Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Excessive Heat is a Major Urban Challenge: Protecting people from rising temperatures and extreme heat is one of the key resilience challenges of the 21st Century. Cooling our communities will help to save lives, improve air quality, and reduce energy use and urgent action is needed to address this challenge.

Cool Roadways are an Essential Strategy to Cool Communities: A variety of passive cooling solutions are available but options are limited for addressing the single largest portion of our communities – pavements. Paved surfaces such as roads, parking lots, and sidewalks, account for up to 40% of the surface area in an average city and absorb a lot of solar energy that heats our communities. The need, and the opportunity, are greatest in low-income and under served communities, which tend to have more pavement and fewer trees than wealthier areas.

Cool Roadways Partnership Members (November 2021)
US map with 29 cities

Founding Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

File:GAF logo.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Silver Sponsor

Bronze Sponsor


Primer for Cool Cities — Passive Cooling Solutions and How to Implement Them

GCCA Executive Director Kurt Shickman is the lead author on a new World Bank report — Primer for Cool Cities: Reducing Excessive Urban Heat with a Focus on Passive Measures — that details the many ways cities can transform into cooler, more habitable places in the face of rising temperatures and provides detailed, practical, actionable guidance and examples for implementers, policy-makers and planners tasked with mitigating urban heat.

The need to protect populations from extreme heat is one of the key resiliency and sustainability challenges of the 21st Century.  The combined trends of urbanization in developing countries, global climate change, and rapid growth in urban temperatures mean that billions of people need to find ways to access cooling solutions to live and thrive.  The negative effects of excess heat on urban systems are significant and impact nearly every aspect of urban life, with a particular burden placed on poor, marginalized communities.

That said, successfully implementing measures to cool urban air temperatures will lead to many benefits, including for health, well-being, productivity, air quality and energy systems. These urban-cooling solutions can be deployed in the short-term to help mitigate the risk of rising urban air temperatures and help transform cities into more equitable, healthy, and prosperous places to live.

Recommendations for cities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Recommendations from GCCA, Society of Behavioral Medicine and others provide a roadmap for cities to address dangerous heat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

infographic for extreme heat during COVID pandemic

A new policy brief from the Society of Behavioral Medicine lays out a roadmap to help cities adjust their approach to preparing for compounding health challenges dangerous summer heat and COVID-19. The brief was developed in close collaboration with the Global Cool Cities Alliance, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and staff in the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency.

Heat is a serious and growing public health threat in the U.S. and is already the most lethal weather-related disaster in an average year.  The burden of heat is disproportionately borne by communities of color, non-US citizens, individuals with limited English proficiency, older adults, people with pre-existing medical conditions and low-income communities.  These communities facing increased risk of negative heat health outcomes are also at the greatest risk of dying from COVID-19

At the same time, many states have issued stay-at-home and physical distancing orders to limit the transmission of COVID-19 including the closure of cooling centers, public pools, malls, and movie theaters and other places people can gather to cool off. During the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals without properly cooled residences may be less able to safely access emergency cooling options (e.g.,

community cooling centers) and more likely to spend time indoors in dangerous thermal conditions.

“We recognized that the already daunting health problem of addressing dangerous urban heat was going to be exacerbated greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic and that cities could use a practical, implementable roadmap to navigate this summer and beyond” says Dr. Sarah Miller, Assistant Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The brief, which has been endorsed by the National League of Cities, lays out a series of recommendations for cities, including providing energy-efficient space cooling at low or no cost to people with a high risk of heat health problems, advocating for summer energy bill reductions, enhancing awareness and outreach efforts, establishing cooling standards, and committing to a transition to cooler construction materials such as highly solar-reflective roofs, walls, and pavements.

“Everyone deserves to live and work in safe conditions – including safe air temperatures – and we must act now to make sure that happens for our residents most at risk from the impacts of extreme heat.  New York City is already implementing many of the recommendations described this brief in preparation for the 2020 summer season.” says Kizzy Charles-Guzman of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Resiliency.

“The brief recognizes the need to act immediately to meet the challenges of this summer, but it also provides actionable recommendations to transform cities into more heat-resilient, healthier places to live.  Choosing cooler building materials and adding green space will generate substantial long-term benefits for people’s health, well-being, and budgets – particularly when focused in communities and populations at high risk for heat health problems” says Kurt Shickman of the Global Cool Cities Alliance.

The brief may be downloaded here. A summary infographic is available here.

The One Million Cool Roofs Challenge

The Cool Roofs Challenge is an unprecedented $2 million initiative comprising an outcome-based $1 million challenge prize and $1 million of grant pool of up to ten $100,000 grants to support teams with their entry to the challenge. The final prize will be awarded to the team that has the most effective, sustainable and replicable model for scaling up the deployment of cool roofs, and has evidenced this approach by demonstrating 1 million square meters of cool roofing in a specific geographic area while meeting certain standards and criteria.

Interested in applying? Click here.  Boost Grant applications open on January 20th, 2019.

The challenge seeks to achieve the following outcomes:

Outcome 1: Close the cooling access gap in critically affected countries. Reflective, “cool” roofs and walls are an essential first strategy to improving cooling access. These interventions reduce base and peak demand for cooling demand in mechanically conditioned buildings. For the vast majority of buildings that will not be mechanically cooled, cool surfaces are one of the few strategies that can deliver meaningful cooling access by reducing mean indoor temperatures at a building scale and mean ambient air temperatures when deployed on a community- and city-wide scale. The use of quality, cost effective product and effective deployment through skilled workforce is a key to success.

Outcome 2: Send a clear signal to the market and policy developers that there is global demand for cool roof products. The competitive grant pool will be the largest ever to focus on cool roofs and thermal comfort and will build relationships in large, but previously untapped, markets. Visible and high profile deployments, ideally supported with performance data, will bring buy-in from market and governments.

Outcome 3: Create the conditions for sustainable, accelerated deployment of cool surfaces in countries with a large gap in access to cooling. The initiative will encourage the development of policies, programs, and markets to deliver over 1 million cool buildings across target countries and create jobs. In countries with high penetration of mechanical space cooling, the program will save hundreds of millions of dollars and avoid hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gas and ozone precursor emissions.

Saving Billions by Managing Urban Sun and Rain

We have long known that smarter material choices for our roofs and pavements would lead to significant improvements in urban economies and quality of life. Now, a report for the District of Columbia municipal government shows just how big those net benefits can be by evaluating the potential costs and benefits of urban “sun and rain management” in the District. Cities that manage the sun’s energy with cool and green roofs and pavements and manage stormwater with green infrastructure will unlock billions in net benefits over the life of those investments.

The report documents how D.C. could save $2 billion with smart surface strategies, such as cool roofs, green roofs, solar PV and porous pavements while enhancing health and livability and cutting summer peak temperatures.

When increased tourism from more comfortable outdoor conditions are factored in, the net present value benefit exceeds $5 billion! Partners in this work include the American Institute of Architects, the National League of Cities, Global Cool Cities Alliance, DowntownDC Business Improvement District, the U.S. Green Building Council, the National Housing Trust and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The report found that implementing these smart surface solutions city-wide would cost effectively achieve a range D.C. sustainability, livability and competitiveness objectives, including:

Energy: Reduce electricity purchases from the grid by 8.5 percent relative to 2013 consumption levels
Water: Reduce stormwater runoff to protect local water bodies while reducing potable water use
Climate & Environment: By full implementation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by approximately 5.5 percent of 2013 emissions while enhancing resilience to climate change by reducing city temperatures
Built Environment: Improve sustainability performance of new and existing buildings
Nature: Expand tree canopy and other green landscape to enhance city-wide ecosystem
Jobs & Economy: Create more than 2,400 well-paying green jobs in the District over 40 years
Equity & Diversity: Improve livability, particularly in low-income areas that tend to have less green cover and efficient buildings
Health & Wellness: Improve air quality and public health of District residents and visitors

For those looking to recreate this work in their city, the report includes a highly detailed walk-through of the methodology and sources for the findings.

New Thinking on Cool Roof in Cool Climates

Roofing Magazine’s September/October edition includes an article from GCCA that examines some of the new research that is toppling the myth that cool roofs are not suitable in cool climates.  You can check it out over at their website.  I focus on two studies in the article, but these two are only the latest analyses that indicate that cool roofing should be a considered when putting on new roofs in cold climates and further support the effort to expand cool roof requirements in building codes at least to Climate Zone 4a and 4b. (the yellow zone on the map below).

There Is Evidence Cool Roofs Provide Benefits to Buildings in Climate Zones 4 through 8