Phoenix’s ‘cool pavement’ installed at Desert Ridge Marketplace

Phoenix is testing out its "cool pavement" at Desert Ridge Marketplace in the largest space yet for the project.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:58 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — One outdoor shopping mall in north Phoenix is the first to test out the city’s new “cool pavement.” Crews just installed 63,000 square feet of cool pavement in the north parking lot of Desert Ridge Marketplace. It’s part of a one-year pilot program with Arizona State University researchers. The repaved parking lot is the largest space yet to have the so-called cool pavement.

ASU has been studying cool pavement since 2007. It’s designed to counteract the heat trapped by hot pavement and concrete. The city of Phoenix has installed more than 100 miles of it on neighborhood streets. Officials say while it lowered the pavement temperatures by up to 12 degrees, it actually made humans standing on it five degrees hotter because the coating reflects the heat.

However, this new project at Desert Ridge should help researchers troubleshoot concerns. They put in above and underground sensors to gauge temperature differentials for a full year. “We’ve only done this in the past with street-based projects, residential streets, and that’s always challenging because the street is not a very large area, and from one neighborhood to the next, the nearby land cover matters a lot. So if you have a house that has an irrigated lawn and you irrigate in the morning, that will affect our measurements,” said David Sailor, a professor and researcher at ASU. Phoenix spent more than $12 million on cool pavement, saying it’s worth it to lower the overall heat.

Other issues we’ve reported in the past show cool pavement bubbling up and peeling off after storms. However, Phoenix officials said they used a different product for that neighborhood and haven’t had any issues since.

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