Photo: Walmart via Flickr
Policy Solution

Cool walls

Mandate

Overview:

Summary: Cool walls apply treatments to building facades to reduce the solar absorption of a building's walls, which can reduce the urban heat island effect.

Implementation: Update code requirements for construction of new buildings and substantive rehabilitations. Government can mandate cool walls in building codes or energy codes.

Considerations for Use: Cool walls are less effective in colder climates that have greater heating needs in the colder months. Cool walls are best suited to buildings with low roof-to-wall and window-to-wall ratios. Additional research is needed to evaluate effectiveness of cool walls in dense areas.

  • Policy Levers: The mechanism municipalities can use to actualize the intervention. These policy levers will likely be used in combination with each other.

    MandateMandates are government regulations that require stakeholders to meet standards through building codes, ordinances, zoning policies, or other regulatory tools.
  • Trigger Points: Opportunities for municipalities to implement risk reduction and preparedness interventions based on the policy lever, building on the United Nations Environment Programme triggers used in the Beating the Heat handbook (2021).

    City planning processesIncludes city initiatives such as the development of climate action plan, pathway to zero-energy, master plan, transit plan, energy mapping etc.
    Introducing new or updated zoning/codesIncludes codes, zoning requirements or by-laws pertaining to urban planning and building construction activity.
  • Intervention Type:
    Buildings and Built Form
  • Sectors:
    Buildings,

    Impact:

  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Residents; Property owners
  • Phase of Impact:
    Risk reduction and mitigation
  • Metrics:
    Number of buildings compliant with provision; Energy savings by building; Indoor air temperature reductions; Outdoor ambient air temperature

Implementation:

  • Intervention Scale:
    Building
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Medium-term (3-9 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    Array
  • Funding Sources:
    Private investment; Public investment
  • Capacity to Act:
    High

    Benefits:

  • Cost-Benefit:
    Low
  • Public Good:
    Low
  • GHG Reduction:
    Medium
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
    Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    Save on utilities; Create jobs