How Technology Helps Cities Keep Cool

By: Anneken Tappe · September 06, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Heat Wave

Cities across the U.S. are trying to stay cool as heat waves sweep the nation. Some cities are turning to technology to help divert the sun’s rays and keep energy bills down.

This includes “green roofs”, as well as super reflective coating that can be applied to pavements to reduce temperatures on the surface but also as far as 6 feet above the ground. Other cooling technologies include an ultra-white paint that was developed by Purdue University.

Staying Cool With Mother Nature

As heat waves become longer and more severe, and power grids are suffering under the increased electricity use to keep air conditioning units buzzing, cities are looking to save money and energy by implementing technology that can help divert the sun’s rays. One of the most common ways to do this is by installing “green roofs” on buildings throughout the city.

Green roofs are just what they sound like: greenery growing atop a building. These ballasted roofs include a waterproof membrane, soil, and plants. The vegetation cools the roof compared to a standard blacktop roof and may also cut down on heat from A/C units. Washington, D.C., has already built more than 3,200 green roofs covering 9 million square feet.

Beating the Heat

For the most part, the heat is worst in concrete jungles where the asphalt in buildings and roads absorbs and re-emits the sun’s energy. This urban heating effect can make cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York up to 10 degrees hotter than their surrounding suburbs.

That’s part of the reason some of these cities are extending tax breaks and federal funding in search of innovative ways to cool down.

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