26 Jul 2022

US Heat Wave: Cities Introduce 'Cool Pavements' To Combat Heat Island Effect

As summer temperatures rise across the United States, authorities are implementing innovative ways to keep their citizens cool. A report in the Independent said authorities in Los Angeles, California and Arizona are covering sections of roads with a coating designed to cool the asphalt. The report states that the coating absorbs and then radiates a ton of heat. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said these technologies are being used across the country to reduce the heat island effect.
The normal daytime temperature in US cities is 38 degrees Celsius. When the mercury gets above that level, the asphalt gets much hotter, around 50 degrees Celsius.

This coating helps pavements reflect more sunlight than standard asphalt, making them noticeably less hot as a result. A report in the Independent said the coating can keep the temperature 12 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the standard temperature during the afternoon.

Since the road emits less heat, the surroundings are also cooler. The technology will also keep the nighttime temperature low because the asphalt will accumulate less heat and release significantly less during the night.

Environmentalists have warned that climate change is causing warmer nights, with nighttime temperatures rising drastically.

This coating has been applied in some areas of Los Angeles and other states like South Carolina are also trying it.

The EPA cites some other benefits of such a coating, such as reduced stormwater runoff, increased safety, and improved nighttime visibility. Because the coating is usually light in color, it can improve visibility and reduce lighting requirements, saving money and energy.

This is not a new technology being introduced in American cities. Such cool pavements have also been used in the past, and a 2019 article in Bloomberg reported that they can actually make people feel warmer during the day. The article was based on a study conducted in Los Angeles in which climatologists recorded pavement temperatures seven degrees Fahrenheit higher than daytime temperatures.

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