Reducing the Urban Heat Island Effect through Asphalt Shingles

The purpose of this experiment was to determine how different colored asphalt could reduce the urban heat island effect. This effect occurs in urban areas where the air temperature is higher than the temperature of surrounding rural areas due to the abundancy of dark surfaces, including asphalt roads. It can increase pollution, health problems, and air conditioning costs. Three different colors of asphalt shingles, white, gray and black were tested to see how their surface temperatures (SF), surrounding temperatures (SD), and their rates of change varied (RSF and RSD). Lighter surfaces can potentially reduce the effect.

There were 45 trials in total, 15 of each color. For a trial, a shingle was placed in a wooden controlled environment meant to limit external influences. A temperature probe was placed under the shingle and another probe was placed through a hole in the side of the box. For ten minutes, surface and surrounding temperature was measured and their rates of change recorded.
ANOVAs compared SFs and RSFs and yielded p-values of almost zero. The SD and RSD could not be tested due to unmet assumptions. Thus, the hypothesis that there would be a significant difference between the three colors for their SF, RSF, SD, and RSD was accepted for the SF and RSF, but left the SD and RSD unproven.

Research Conducted By:

Caroline Jankowski
Lake Shore High School

Emily Liu
Clintondale High School