Portion of Phoenix’s Desert Ridge Marketplace gets cool pavement treatment

Sep 19, 2023, 10:16 AM | Updated: 10:18 am

PHOENIX — A portion of Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix recently received cool pavement treatment as part of a study examining ways to combat the local urban heat island effect.

Cool pavement was applied to a high traffic zone on the northside parking lot, totaling 63,000 square feet, over the weekend through a partnership with Arizona State University’s Southwest Integrated Field Laboratory (SW-IFL).

Additionally, sensors above and below ground were placed throughout the 1.2 million-square-foot center to track temperatures throughout the next year, according to a press release. ASU will analyze the data, which will be taken at different times and under various weather conditions.

If the program is successful, real estate company and owner of the shopping center Vestar will assess the use of CoolSeal by GuardTop at all of its properties that are vulnerable to hot temperatures.

What do officials hope to achieve from more cool pavement treatments?

Pavement sealing works by reflecting higher portions of sunlight that touches it, therefore taking in less heat. The results could lead to less energy consumption, and lower amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

For the university, the Desert Ridge Marketplace cool pavement project is the largest and most concentrated testing site the team has had the chance to work with.

“Testing a cool paving technology on such a large continuous paved area offers us a unique opportunity to characterize the effects that cool paving has, not only on surface and subsurface temperatures, but also on near-surface air temperatures above and downwind of the test area,” David Sailor, director of the SW-IFL and lead researcher on the Desert Ride Marketplace project, said in the release.

“This is just one of many cooling technologies and strategies that we are exploring as part of the SW-IFL — work that cannot be done without strong community and commercial partners such as Vestar.”

Vestar, on the other hand, is looking at how the treatment could be beneficial and utilized on a larger scale at its shopping centers.

“We jumped at the opportunity to partner with ASU to learn more. CoolSeal has the potential of lowering surface and air temperatures – reducing energy and water consumption over the long term, while also improving the customer shopping experience,” Miles Sanchez, chief operating officer at Vestar, said in the release.

“This project is really a win-win for us.”

Are there other cool pavement projects in the Valley?

The cool pavement project at Desert Ridge Marketplace builds onto projects between ASU and the city of Phoenix.

Results from a 2020-21 study, which saw asphalt coating applied to sections of eight neighborhoods that already required pavement treatment, revealed temperatures on reflective pavement surfaces were lower than conventional roadway pavements at all times of the day.

Across those eight neighborhoods, surface solar reflectivity decreased over 10 months from a range of 33-to-38% to 19-to-30%.

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Portion of Phoenix’s Desert Ridge Marketplace gets cool pavement treatment