Sydney Is Changing The Colour Of Roads To Try To Cool Down The City

City of Sydney council is making Myrtle Street in Chippendale white to see if it reduces the heat island effect. Photo:

The City of Sydney Council has found a new way to tackle a hotter climate – change the colour of the streets.

The Council is currently trialling lighter pavement in the inner-city suburb of Chippendale in a bid to reduce what’s known as the ‘urban heat island effect’. Dark surfaces such as roads and footpaths absorb and then radiate the sun’s heat, making built-up areas a few degrees warmer.

The trial will record temperatures across different locations around Chippendale, including a 600-square-metre section of Myrtle Street that’s now coated with the lighter pavement, made by mixing a concrete slurry with asphalt, to see if it reduces the ambient temperature.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the city was also using other techniques, such as increasing the tree canopy by 50% by 2030, in a bid to cool buildings, as well as installing solar panels and LED lighting. Council is seeking a 70% reduction in its energy use over the next 15 years.

“We will also continue to test new ideas to make sure we’re being as effective as possible,” she said.

Sustainability guru and Chippendale resident, Michael Mobbs, said black roads and a lack of tree cover can increase city temperatures by up to eight degrees.

“Materials such as concrete and cement store more heat than natural surfaces, absorbing it during the day and releasing it at night, which can contribute to hotter urban areas,” he said. “Lighter coloured pavements may result in lower energy bills for surrounding buildings.”

As the thermal images below show, inner Sydney is the hottest part of the city and green spaces help cool things down.

This map shows how the roads and buildings attract and emit heat, while green spaces are cooler


This map shows the hottest parts of Sydney are around the Chippendale area, where the lighter road trial is being held.