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How Cities Are Tackling Urban Heat Head-On

There’s a new C-suite executive joining the lineup, and their primary focus is to proactively combat rising temperatures. 

It’s no secret that rising temperatures and extreme heat waves are becoming more of a challenge across the globe. And now, cities from coast to coast are tackling urban heat head-on, in the form of newly-appointed chief heat officers. That’s right, there’s a new C-suite executive joining the lineup, and their primary focus is to proactively combat rising temperatures. 

In fact, as this GCN article points out, Miami-Dade County in Florida announced Jane Gilbert as the first CHO in the country last year, followed by the September news that Arizona State University Environmental Sciences Professor David Hondula would lead Phoenix’s newly-created Office of Heat Response & Mitigation. Also, in early November, Los Angeles City Council members voted unanimously to create the city’s first chief heat officer position. 

Following in Miami’s footsteps, Athens, Greece, and Freetown, Sierra Leone, have also named their own chief heat officers, all in partnership with the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation. According to Architectural Digest, these newly-appointed leaders are working together to find viable solutions they can implement in their respective cities. 

In Phoenix, Hondula told GCN that one of the biggest challenges has been finding and applying materials to use in the built environment that don’t contribute to the urban heat island effect. That’s where the city’s Cool Pavement Pilot Program has been successful. In fact, by applying the water-based asphalt sealant CoolSeal by GuardTop to pavement around Phoenix, results have shown that pavement with the asphalt treatment is 10.5 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit lower than traditional asphalt at noon and during afternoon hours. 

In Miami, Gilbert is also exploring the need for cool pavement and an update to the cool-roof ordinance. She’s also hoping to see more projects that incorporate trees, green roofs, and green walls in the future. Hondula and Gilbert have both expressed a desire to increase their respective city’s tree canopy to help combat urban heat islands, too.

“CoolSeal by GuardTop remains committed to fighting climate change with our innovative products and technologies,” says CoolSeal by GuardTop’s Sustainability Project Manager, Davis Koleas. “We look forward to working with chief heat officers across the globe to mitigate heat islands and work toward a healthier future.” 

Combating climate change won’t happen overnight, but the powerful combination of focused chief heat officers, groundbreaking products and technologies, and necessary resources is providing inspiration and hope for a brighter, healthier tomorrow. 


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