The City Of Sydney Is Tackling Climate Change With Light-Coloured Roads

Cities are generally hotter than regional areas, due to something called the urban heat island effect; black tarmac on roads and dark suburban roofs can raise temperatures by up to eight degrees Celsius. This means more energy devoted to cooling and air conditioning. The City of Sydney is trialing a lighter colour of asphalt and pavement that reflects more light, reducing the city's overall energy requirements.

Image credit: City of Sydney

One method the City of Sydney is trying to reduce its energy footprint is by laying light asphalt on roads; it's trialing this with a stretch of tarmac between Abercrombie and Smithers Street in Chippendale, covering a total of 600 square metres -- with both the roadway and footpath being lighter than the usual black and dark grey. That's in addition to a doubling of the tree canopy within the city by 2030, and reducing carbon emission in general by 70 per cent.

The city's government has installed temperature and humidity monitors across Redfern and Chippendale, and will be taking measurements over the next few months to determine whether the lighter-coloured pavement is having a noticeable impact on the climate in the area. No matter the effect, the city is making big strides in improving its energy efficiency, including in installing LED street and park lighting.

Apparently dark tarmac is a big contributor to the heating of urban areas versus rural and regional zones, so if this works, you might start to see lighter streets across the city and other urban areas. [City Of Sydney]

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    i was watching dirty jobs with mike rowe and he was helping paint city roofs white to do the same thing

    Without seeing it first hand, the first thought that comes to mind is will all that lighter color road mean more glare while driving ? I hope it wont because its beginning to be a big problem.

      Well they use grey concrete is many places around the world for highways etc so the lighter colours can't be too bad.

    They will be easier to walk on in bare feet in summertime.

    I see... Well, good luck! I presume the markings will somehow be visible still?

      They will use black markings... no wait doh!!!!!!

    It will be great for doing burnouts on and doughnuts.

    I was distracted by the real estate sign advertising a "super creative" whole floor. How does the floor of a building become 'super creative', exactly? Is the interior built like a hamster maze or something?

    There is no such thing as a "regional area". A region is an area. I would guess you mean rural areas.

      Your knowledge of terms is well below par.


        Noun: An area or division, especially part of a country or the world having definable characteristics but not always fixed boundaries.

        A city can be a region. A part of a city can be a region. A farm in the middle of nowhere can be a region. A huge patch of empty land can be a region. The term region does not in any way indicate whether the area is in a city, urban, rural, or any other type of territory. It indicates only that it is an area. Therefore using it to indicate an area of land that is not in a city does not work. So yes, all those television reporters and politicians are completely wrong when they use the word region to indicate rural.

    So will this lighter coloured asphalt actually make the road last longer than a few months before turning into poo?

    Last edited 18/06/14 9:01 am

    Yet at the same time, Sydney Council are constructing cycleways using dark-green paint?

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