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Reflective Coating on Downtown Parking Lot Helps to Mitigate the Urban Heat Island

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Reflective Coating on Downtown Parking Lot Helps to Mitigate the Urban Heat Island

The urban heat island (UHI) is the phenomenon of higher nighttime temperatures in the urban core compared to the surrounding rural countryside. The UHI is due to the presence of urban construction materials such as roads, buildings, and parking lots that retain heat absorbed from the sun’s energy during the day and then slowly release that heat to the atmosphere at night. Thus, materials that reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat help to mitigate the urban heat island.  A June 6 article in The Arizona Republic reports that a new city-owned parking lot in downtown Phoenix has been coated with a special material that reflects light and heat.  This coating will help to reduce the surface temperature of the parking lot during the day, allowing the area to cool more quickly at night.  If spread throughout the urban core, small efforts such as this one could help lessen the urban heat island effect in the Phoenix metropolitan area.