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Climate Change

Published on June 4th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro

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White Roads Could Help Reduce Urban Temperatures

June 4th, 2014 by  


Long Road

There is no doubt that the coming decades will present a multitude of climate-related issues humanity has to figure out, including how to grapple with rising temperatures. The growing multitude of mega-cities will lead to even higher temperatures in densely-populated areas, though white roads could lead to much cooler temps.

That’s the concept behind the Cool Change Cities Project, which has begun testing a lighter-pigment road surface in Sydney, Australia. This whiter road could drop temperatures in packed urban areas by 7°C, or about 44°F, a tremendous drop in places like Sydney that are experiencing record high summer temperatures.

By creating a paler surface than the blacktop asphalt we’re all used to, project designer Michael Mobbs says that much of the overnight heat that seems to linger will dissipate thanks to his “cool roads” idea. By mixing in rocks, concrete, or other pigment-altering substances, roads can be made to look more white than black.

Traditional blacktop roads are increasingly seen as problematic as they absorb daytime heat and slowly release it overnight, keeping temperatures artificially high. Mobb’s “cool roads” wouldn’t absorb nearly as much sun, as their pale complexion would reflect much of the sunlight right back into space.

This solution can be applied to more than just roads though; many homes and buildings still use black shingles on their roofs, and in heat-struck Australia, this no longer makes much sense. White roofs have already been tested with great success in places like New York City, and Mobb thinks he could lower the average temperature of all of Australia ( or at least the populated parts) cooler by 2°C. An ambitious goal for such a simple solution, but it certainly sounds plausible. Thoughts?

Source: Renew Economy


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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



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