Changing the Colour of Roads

25 Jul 2023


Cities are getting hotter each year. With global warming and urbanization, many neighbourhoods are experiencing extreme heatwaves throughout the year. While air-conditioners are efficient at cooling down houses, they emit greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and global warming. To tackle this problem, researchers are exploring innovative solutions to reduce the amount of heat trapped in cities. One such solution is changing the colour of roads. Let's explore how changing the colour of roads can benefit our cities and suburbs.

Cooler cities

Changing the colour of roads from black to white, cool grey, or light-coloured materials could reflect more solar energy back into space. This results in cooler temperatures, as these materials absorb less heat. Cities can integrate these materials into sidewalks, roads, and buildings to reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the city. This technique is called cool pavement. By lowering temperatures in cities, we can prevent heat waves, protect public health, and save energy costs on air-conditioning.


Changing the colour of roads does not have to be an expensive endeavour. By using cool pavement materials, cities can reduce the need for costly upgrades to cooling systems that consume a lot of energy. Additionally, the lifespan of the pavement material could be longer, reducing maintenance costs. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that cool pavements could save homeowners up to $50 a year on air conditioning, which could possibly alleviate energy poverty for low-income households.

Environmental benefits

Cool pavement can have a positive impact on our environment. It reduces the urban heat island effect, which is the phenomenon of higher temperatures in urban areas compared to rural areas. In turn, this reduces the amount of smog and air pollution, improving the respiratory health of residents. Cool pavements can also reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as it decreases the amount of energy needed for cooling. It is a win-win situation for people and the environment.


While the concept of cool pavement is promising, it is not without its drawbacks. One such drawback is the cost and logistics of implementing pavement on a large scale. While coloured pavements are often more expensive than traditional asphalt pavements, the benefits they provide outweigh the costs. Additionally, as cities move towards a greener future, cool pavement may become the standard.

The Way Forward

Cool pavement is an innovative strategy to combat the increasing heat in cities. Changing the colour of roads can reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the city, save energy costs, and mitigate the effects of climate change. To achieve maximum impact, governments, and policy-makers should invest in reducing the costs of cool pavements and promote their implementation. By taking action now, we can all contribute towards greener cities and a healthier planet.

The need to tackle climate change is urgent, and changing the colour of roads is a promising solution to reduce energy use and mitigate global warming. Cool pavement provides cities and suburbs with a cost-effective tool to reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the city, save energy costs, and mitigate the effects of climate change. If implemented on a large scale, it can decrease energy poverty and improve air quality. It's time to act, invest, and make our cities cooler and greener.