It’s not your imagination. Cities are hotter than the surrounding suburbs due to what
scientists term the “urban heat island” effect. However; even in the large cities of southern Arizona, you can keep your home and family comfortable and cool in mid-summer with the following strategies.
White is Right
Dark colors absorb light and convert it into heat. This principle applies to everything from your home to your car to your clothing. A white, reflective “cool” roof, according to the U. S. Department of Energy can be 50 degrees cooler than a black asphalt roof on a summer day. Intuitively, you probably know that light colored cars stay cooler in hot weather than dark ones, but now scientists at University of California have confirmed that not only do white cars stay cooler, but due to less intense air-conditioning needs, use approximately 2 percent less fuel in summer driving. Finally, white clothing will keep you cooler than darker colors.
Green is Cool
Plants act as natural evaporative coolers. This means that parks and other natural areas are cooler than paved areas. Native trees such as Mesquite, Palo Verde, and Arizona cypress can cool and shade your house in the summer sun as well.
Timing is Everything
Temperatures soar at midday in dry sunny desert climates, but drop quickly in the evening. Rather than becoming an indoor hermit in the summer, enjoy Arizona’s stunning sunrises and sunsets. Arizona’s dry climate makes for spectacular star gazing, and local parks often host astronomical events, turning the cooler nights into a time to enjoy the outdoors. As the coolest time of the day is actually just before dawn, schedule long runs, walks, and bike rides early in the day.
Water, Water Everywhere
Backyard or public pools or nearby lakes help you stay cool on the hottest days. Don’t forget that it is just important to stay hydrated as to enjoy an occasional swim. If you are spending time outdoors, drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water a day to keep cool and prevent dehydration.