The student, Hessam AzariJafari, has found it possible to lower urban air temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions by changing the reflectivity of pavement surfaces. AzariJafari explains how reflective pavements can solve the problem of urban heat islands.
Reflective pavements allow more sunlight to be reflected from a pavement's surface, meaning less is absorbed by its mass. Reflecting that sunlight means less of a demand on heating and cooling buildings. Also, by sending a larger amount of solar irradiation to the sky, they can alter the Earth’s energy balance. This process, known as a radiative forcing, creates a cooling effect that can help counteract climate change.
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