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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Changing the color of the roads is a solution to reduce the air temperature

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When the weather warms up, people look for ways to cool down, and one of those ways is right under our feet: Asphalt Street

According to News i and quoted by Science AlertResearchers have shown that building brighter, more reflective roads can help reduce temperatures by as much as 1.4 degrees Celsius and reduce the frequency of heat waves by 41 percent. But if reflective surfaces are not used properly, it can cause the surrounding buildings to heat up.

What causes the surfaces to heat up?

All surfaces can affect the temperature of cities depending on the amount of radiation they receive or reflect.

In urban areas, about 40% of the land is asphalt, and the temperature that these surfaces absorb is slowly released, warming the environment.

This is one of the reasons why cities are warmer in summer than in rural areas.

The use of reflective materials can prevent the temperature from rising and help reduce climate change. Whitewashing the roofs of houses has a similar effect.

To quantify the reflectivity of surfaces, a quantity called albedo, or whiteness, was used to indicate the percentage of light reflected from an object. The lower the whiteness of a surface, the more light it absorbs and the more temperature it traps.

Darker surfaces have less whiteness. For example, the whiteness of asphalt is about 0.05 to 0.1, which means that asphalt reflects only 5 to 10 percent of light and absorbs 95 percent of it.

If street surfaces use lighter and more reflective materials such as concrete, the whiteness can be doubled. Modelings by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown that reducing the whiteness of US roads can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Where can this method be used?

This method cannot be used for all roads. Urban roads and roads near villages are not suitable for this purpose.

Reflective surfaces can reflect light to surrounding buildings and cause them to heat up, thus increasing the demand for and consumption of cooling systems.

In a city like Boston, tall buildings block the light from the streets, so using this method in this city is not only not useful, but can be harmful.

In New York, using this method cooled the surface by 6.1 degrees Celsius, but the temperature rose a few meters above the surface.

These results suggest that the use of light-colored coatings may be appropriate for roads rather than sidewalks.

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