Tag Archives: Reflective pavement

Study Shows How Increased Reflectivity Can Save Lives

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently published a report, in which they took a look at past heat waves in Phoenix, AZ, Philadelphia, PA and Atlanta, GA.

This study shows that by adding white roofs, reflective pavement and trees, cities can counteract temperature increases in urban areas and save lives. From an article byClimateWire

[T]he researchers modeled how the three cities would respond to a minimum green space ratio on land parcels, setting a floor for areas covered with grass, gardens or trees. Vegetation tends to have a cooling effect by circulating moisture in the air that draws away heat during evaporation. Tree canopies also provide cooling shade.

The team also modeled how Phoenix, Philadelphia and Atlanta would behave with more reflective streets, sidewalks, parking lots and rooftops. Higher reflectivity, or albedo, means the area absorbs less sunlight, thereby lowering the temperature.

Stone and his collaborators then overlaid a health impact model.  They found that combinations of increased vegetation and albedo could cut into projected increases in heat deaths, reducing them between 40 and 99 percent. “On average, we reduced the rate of increase by about 60 percent,” Stone said.

Groups like the Global Cool Cities Alliance are now trying to get cities to adopt these adaptation strategies, pitching them as a way to protect public health. However, it’s slow going, given that cities around the country address heat vulnerability differently, if at all.

You can find the full study HERE.

This report parallels a recent GCCA report, which looks at Baltimore MD, New York, NY, and Los Angeles, CA, and shows how reflective roofs and vegetation can cool air temperatures and save lives.

Note: Access to the ClimateWire articles is limited to subscribers.

Cool Surfaces News Roundup: July 2014

Each quarter, the Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA) compiles the media covering cool roofs, cool pavements, and a wide range of urban heat island-related issues in a report we callCool Retrospective.  In this issue, we take a look back at the first half of 2014.

So far this year, a number of cities and countries have adopted new cool surface policies to mitigate the impacts of excess urban heat. Several new studies were released that highlight how reducing urban heat islands can address health, energy, environmental, and social justice issues.  You can find our latest news round-up online here.

GCCA Responds to ASU Paper Unintended Consequences

The Global Cool Cities Alliance worked with a group of experts to review the statements made in Arizona State University’s Unintended Consequences. Each entry includes a direct quote from the paper, followed by a detailed explanation for why the quote is in error.

The review covered the 10 pages of the white paper between the executive summary through Section 6. We identified close to 60 major problems covered in 53 entries in the fact check document.

GCCA contacted Arizona State University to bring their attention to this deeply flawed report. The letter describing our concerns with the paper’s ethics and many factual errors can also be downloaded here.

You can find the original paper and our response here.