How Urban Heat Islands Impact Communities
We are proud to announce that we’ve joined the Cool Roadways Partnership to help reduce the impact of the Heat Island Effect in urban areas.
What is the Heat Island Effect?
The “Heat Island Effect” refers to urban landscapes experiencing higher temperatures during the summer than other municipal landscapes. This impacts residents’ daily lives and the surrounding environment.
The Heat Island Effect progresses during the day. In the evening, it often becomes significantly hotter than the morning due to the area accumulating heat over time.
What Causes the Heat Island Effect?
According to the EPA, these are possible causes for Heat Island Effect:
- Untreated Roadways - Dark, uncoated road surfaces will absorb and then re-emit heat from the sun. This heat rises throughout the city at ground level.
- Lack of Natural Features - Fewer trees, bodies of water, etc. to help provide shade and absorb heat during hotter months.
- More Heat-Absorbing Surfaces - More construction materials, large windows, and roadways absorb the sun’s heat rather than cooling the surrounding area.
- Large Buildings - Large cities feature tall buildings close together. This both blocks cooling air and prevents heat from escaping.
- Human Impact - Technology like cars, air conditioning units, and industrial complexes generate more heat. This heat becomes trapped within city limits.
- Environmental Factors - A city’s average temperature and weather patterns affect the prevalence of the Heat Island Effect. A city that experiences clearer skies, for example, will generate more heat as more solar energy is available.
How Does the Heat Island Effect Impact Urban Communities?
As the EPA states, these are the major consequences of urban heat islands:
Increased Energy Consumption
Urban residents rely more on cooling technologies during the summer. As more people run their air conditioning at home or in their cars, it generates more heat. This can raise expenses like utilities, fuel, and more.
More Prevalent Air Pollution
Because cities consume more energy, they also release more pollutants into the air. Without winds to move this air away and dilute the pollution, more residents are exposed. This can result in health complications for residents.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Greenhouse gases contribute to overall environmental damage. This is especially true for cities. Cities that emit more greenhouse gases damage the atmosphere’s ozone layer which results in less protection from the sun and contributes to elevated temperatures.
Reduced Quality of Life
Hotter cities can impact human health and happiness. People living in heat island areas can experience a variety of health hazards. These range from polluted air to the increased chances of heat injury. Elevated temperatures also create a less-comfortable living environment for residents.
Warmer water attracts disease-carrying pests and can become a breeding ground for various bacteria. Elevated temperatures also impact water’s ability to remain cool for long periods of time. This requires more intense water treatment efforts that also consume more energy.
Creating Cooler Roadways for Urban Landscapes
At Pavement Surface Coatings, we believe mitigating Heat Island Effect starts at the ground up. Cooler roadways prevent hot temperatures from building up and rising throughout the city over time. This is why we are proud to join the Cool Roadways Partnership.
We developed Endurablend™ to provide communities with a lasting solution for cooler roadways. Its polymer cement micro-overlay features light-colored pigments to help reduce heat absorption and re-emission.
About the Cool Roadways Partnership
The Cool Roadways Partnership supports innovation and implementation initiatives to combat the effects of heat islands. As heat islands become more prevalent, this results in more hazardous heat waves and threats to human health. We want to do something to change that.
As a member of the Cool Roadways Partnership, we partner with local leaders to develop lasting remedies for cooler urban streets. Cost-effective solutions like Endurablend™ help reflect solar energy during the summer and protect pavement integrity during the winters.
When combating heat islands, community beats competition. We are proud to work alongside many great leaders and fellow innovators on this partnership. For more information on Endurablend™ and its environmental benefits, please visit our solar reflective coatings page or contact us anytime.