Effect of pavement thermal properties on mitigating urban heat islands: A multi-scale modeling case study in Phoenix

Jiachuan Yang, Zhihua Wang, Kamil Kaloush, Heather Dylla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Engineered pavements cover a large fraction of cities and offer significant potential for urban heat island mitigation. Though rapidly increasing research efforts have been devoted to the study of pavement materials, thermal interactions between buildings and the ambient environment are mostly neglected. In this study, numerical models featuring a realistic representation of building-environment thermal interactions, were applied to quantify the effect of pavements on the urban thermal environment at multiple scales. It was found that performance of pavements inside the canyon was largely determined by the canyon geometry. In a high-density residential area, modifying pavements had insignificant effect on the wall temperature and building energy consumption. At a regional scale, various pavement types were also found to have a limited cooling effect on land surface temperature and 2-m air temperature for metropolitan Phoenix. In the context of global climate change, the effect of pavement was evaluated in terms of the equivalent CO2 emission. Equivalent CO2 emission offset by reflective pavements in urban canyons was only about 13.9–46.6% of that without building canopies, depending on the canyon geometry. This study revealed the importance of building-environment thermal interactions in determining thermal conditions inside the urban canopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-121
Number of pages12
JournalBuilding and Environment
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Building-environment thermal interactions
  • CO emission offset
  • Energy consumption
  • Outdoor thermal comfort
  • Pavement
  • Urban heat island mitigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of pavement thermal properties on mitigating urban heat islands: A multi-scale modeling case study in Phoenix'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this