Who would have thought that a humble coat of paint would be able to help lower the mercury readings by up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) on a hot day? Well, that is exactly what this light-colored, heat-reflecting asphalt and paint combination does, helping reduce the temperature of a parking lot (or wherever it is painted) whenever the sun decides to show up for work with full of zest. Of course, more or less everyone knows that painting sidewalks, walls and roofs with white would help lower temperatures somewhat, but the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Northern California decided to go ahead with commercially available heat-reflecting coatings to prove a point.

Not only did it help lower the overall temperature by a whole lot, in the long run when used in neighborhoods, it might even lower residents’ electricity use for air conditioning while doing their bit in the fight against global warming. Haley Gilbert, a research assistant at the Berkeley Lab who studies heat in cities, cited that “across an entire city, small changes in air temperature could be a huge benefit as it can slow the formation of smog.” Hmmm, perhaps Beijing might want to investigate into the use of such heat-reflecting paints.

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