Environmental Science SSR repaves faculty parking lot to conduct research

Sophie Haber

To investigate the effect of cool pavement on lessening the Urban Heat Island Effect, the Environmental Science SSR, made up of students who took AP Environmental Science last year, initiated the repavement of half of the faculty parking lot with GuardTop Cool Seal.

The Urban Heat Island Effect is when an urban area is significantly hotter than surrounding rural areas due to factors including waste heat from cars or air conditioners, a decreased amount of vegetation in cities and asphalt that absorbs heat, Environmental Science SSR member and study conductor Noah Martin ’18 said. The high temperatures that it causes can negatively affect health conditions of people living in impacted areas, which tend to be low income communities that lack air conditioning.

GuardTop Cool Seal has a high reflectivity, which could decrease the amount of heat that the lot absorbs and releases throughout the day and in turn decrease the temperature.

Students will collect data from temperature sensors stationed around the parking lot to determine if the sealant effectively mitigates the Urban Heat Island Effect.

If the results show that the new pavement is successful in lowering temperatures, members of the SSR hope to repave all the school’s parking lots.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing whether or not our data shows that the cool pavement is effective in reducing the temperature of our parking lot because I think it could definitely make a difference in people’s lives and their overall health,” Martin said.