'Cool pavement' is coming to Desert Ridge Marketplace

Summer is almost behind us, but the heat stays with Arizonans into the fall months. Studies show it affects urban areas the most.

"We have a lot of dark surfaces that absorb a lot of heat, slowly giving that heat up throughout the day and night," said David Sailor, ASU Director of Southwest Integrative Field Laboratory.

Parking lots are the main offenders.

"A traditional parking lot, with a new coating, is capable of absorbing 95% of the sun's energy and storing it," said Sailor. "It then slowly releases that stored heat to the surrounding neighborhoods."

That's why real estate company Vestar and ASU are partnering up for the "Cool Pavement Project." 

They will be covering a 63,000-square-foot section of Desert Ridge Marketplace with a cool-colored sealant to mitigate the heat absorption and release in that area.

"This is the first application in Arizona where we're applying it in a parking field in a commercial retail setting," said Tim Ray, general manager for Vestar.


Is Phoenix's 'Cool Pavement' program working? Here's what one expert is saying

In recent years, the City of Phoenix has been using a street coating technology that they say can reflect heat and sunlight away from pavements, thereby potentially helping to offset rising nighttime temperatures in the region. Now, an expert is talking about the pros and cons of cool pavements.

David Sailor with ASU will be leading much of the study, and he says they're estimating that this cool sealant will reflect back 30-35% of the sun's energy. This means that less heat will stay on the ground and contribute to the urban heat island effect.

"This is a project that seeks to understand the potential benefits of applying more reflective surfaces in an urban environment," said Sailor.

And while the Valley summers will no doubt stay pretty hot, if it can get a little bit cooler, that will be a success.

"To find the positive effects it has for our environment, such as reducing surface and air temperature in the area," Sailor said.