City of Tempe testing ways to mitigate extreme heat

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
City leaders showed off their efforts Wednesday, which include increasing shade across the city and utilizing green roofs. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) City leaders showed off their efforts Wednesday, which include increasing shade across the city and utilizing green roofs. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The roof of Tempe's transit center looks like a garden. Architect Bonnie Richardson says the plants keep the building cool, adding that architects are experimenting with which ones work best. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The roof of Tempe's transit center looks like a garden. Architect Bonnie Richardson says the plants keep the building cool, adding that architects are experimenting with which ones work best. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
To keep heat off sidewalks, the city is planting 2,000 trees over the next five years. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) To keep heat off sidewalks, the city is planting 2,000 trees over the next five years. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Because summers in Arizona may only get hotter in the future, the City of Tempe is working now to cool things down. 

"We are committed to a healthy future," said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. 

City leaders showed off their efforts Wednesday, which include increasing shade across the city and utilizing green roofs. 

The roof of Tempe's transit center, for example, looks like a garden.

"This is like a maximum insulation," said Bonnie Richardson, an architect and urban planner for the City of Tempe

Richardson says the plants keep the building cool, adding that architects are experimenting to determine which ones work best. 

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona's extreme heat]

"It's not just one plant that will work in Arizona," Richardson said. 

And to keep the heat off sidewalks, the City is planting 2,000 trees over the next five years. They're using specialized equipment to test which ones are the shadiest.

The device is placed underneath trees to measure sunlight and other heat factors. 

"It measures, essentially, how you experience heat," Dr. Ariane Middel from the Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts explained. "It's really important that our citizens here stay comfortable."

And it can be a matter of more than comfort. According to Maricopa County, 155 people died of heat-related causes in 2017. 

[RELATED: Will Phoenix soon see another 122-degree day?]

[RELATED: Hottest days on record in Phoenix]

As climatologists warn that weather patterns will grow warmer here in the Valley, keeping cities cool is an increasingly important task. 

"I, 100 percent, have seen the effects of climate change first-hand," said ASU student Brady Newman, an intern with the climate activism group Defend Our Future. "As we grow up, we're going to be definitely experiencing the harsher impacts of climate change."  

[RELATED: Heat safety 101]


Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.