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Lighter pavement really does cool cities when it’s done right

By Hessam AzariJafari, Postdoctoral Associate in Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Randolph E. Kirchain, Co-Director, MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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When heat waves hit, people start looking for anything that might lower the temperature. One solution is right beneath our feet: pavement.

Think about how hot the soles of your shoes can get when you’re walking on dark pavement or asphalt. A hot street isn’t just hot to touch – it also raises the surrounding air temperature.

Research shows that building lighter-colored, more reflective roads has the potential to lower air temperatures by more than 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.4…


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