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City of Phoenix working on “cool” projects to lower summer temperatures

From cool pavement to a volunteer-based programs, the Office of Heat Response and Mitigation wants to save lives
The City of Phoenix has a couple of programs it's rolling out to help people during the blistering summer heat.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 8:10 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - From reflective pavement to volunteers checking in on their neighbors, the City of Phoenix wants to save lives as temperatures hit the triple digits.

That includes a unique construction project near Thomas and 52nd Street. “We’re essentially trying to make the roads a little shinier, particularly in parts of the electromagnetic spectrum where we have a lot of energy coming from the sun,” said David Hondula.

Hondula is the heat response director in the city’s new Office of Heat Response and Mitigation. The so-called “cool pavement” program expanding over town is just one strategy the city is exploring to lower hot summer temperatures on the ground.

How Hondula says it works: the paint reflects sunlight, absorbs less heat, then potentially offsets nighttime temperatures. He says the concept is still being studied with encouraging results so far. “The roadway surface itself, the surface temperature can be 10, 11, 12 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the traditional coating,” Hondula told Arizona’s Family on Wednesday.

The city is also developing a cool caller program. Volunteers, even staff, will reach out to vulnerable folks who may be at risk of overheating inside their homes. “One of the narratives we read about too often in the newspaper and the medical examiner’s reports is folks who find themselves alone, at home. The AC has malfunctioned, or perhaps we’ve not operated it correctly, and the home simply becomes too hot to be safe,” he said.

If you’d like to volunteer, contact volunteer@phoenix.gov.