Pavement technology could cool cities from the ground up

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PHOENIX (AP) — Sunbathers understand the benefits of applying sunscreen, but in America’s hottest big city the same concept is being tested at street level in the hope of bringing some lasting relief from the relentless Arizona sun.A team from Arizona State University is working with the city of Phoenix on a pilot program studying the use of “cool pavement” to reduce heat island effect, a phenomenon that raises temperatures in urban areas covered by asphalt and concrete.Heather Murphy, a Street Transportation Department spokesperson, said Phoenix is applying cool pavement coating to nine sites representing different urban characteristics, from shaded streets to open lots. The applications are expected to be completed by the end of the month.ADVERTISEMENT“What sunscreen does is prevent the sun from damaging the surface,” Murphy said. “The same sort of effect is what we want to achieve with cool pavement.”The Environmental Protection Agency says normal paving materials can reach temperatures of 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit (48 to 67 Celsius) during peak summer and transfer excess heat into the air. Lowering the surface temperature can provide comfort and reduced energy costs to residents sheltering from extreme heat like the record levels reached this year in Arizona, …

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