California Street Services are testing a new, creative approach to combat the rising temperatures in the city center, they are painting streets white.
We know that Asphalt absorbs the sun’s ray and temperatures on the road can get much higher than normal, this heat is dissipated around town and thus by painting the roads white California’s officials are hoping to keep temperatures low.
This is one creative way of combating the effects of the ever rising temperatures due to climate change. After seeing a difference of 11-13 degrees on the white coated streets, some cities plan on implementing more reflective roofs and pavements to reduce heat.
The paint being used on the road is called “CoolSeal” and was originally used by the military to conceal grounded airplanes from spy aircraft using infrared cameras. This special paint is safe for cars as it is not slippery and tyres don’t leave skid marks on it. The coating is expected to last around seven years.
The smart painting program is intended to tackle what’s known as the urban heat island effect, where pockets of urban development – with concrete, asphalt, dark roofs, and a lack of shade from vegetation – send temperatures soaring up, once the population of a city gets close to half a million people its temperatures can go up to 12°C higher than the level of the surrounding areas due to the effect.
That in turn means an increased danger of heat exhaustion in the hottest cities and, of course, more people switching on their air conditioning units and using up more energy.
According to city officials the coating should reduce temperatures, help those working outside, and even make the ground surface more pleasant for pets. The areas already treated will be monitored during the autumn, ready for a wider roll-out by next summer.
The company that is producing the CoolSeal has received inquiries from all over the world, including China, Israel, Australia and Saudi Arabia. So it might be safe to say this trend in environmental design could be here to stay and perhaps we, in Malta, could eventually be next, who knows?