Haj 2024: Saudi expands road cooling initiative around holy sites

First implemented last year, the idea stems from the fact that roads absorb heat during the day, with temperatures sometimes reaching 70°C

By Wam

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Published: Thu 30 May 2024, 4:37 PM

Last updated: Thu 30 May 2024, 4:48 PM

Saudi Arabia's Roads General Authority has announced the expansion of the asphalt surface cooling initiative in several locations within the holy sites.

Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday that the initiative aims to reduce temperatures in neighbourhoods and residential areas, lower the energy used to cool buildings and mitigate the effects of climate change.

This technology contributes to providing a more comfortable environment in waiting areas and locations where people gather.

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The initiative has been implemented next to Namira Mosque in Arafat, covering an area of 25,000 square metres. The authority is executing the initiative in partnership with several relevant entities, including the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Pilgrim Experience Programme, the Quality of Life Program, and the Holy Capital Municipality.

The idea of this initiative, first implemented last year in the holy sites, stems from the fact that roads absorb heat during the day, with temperatures sometimes reaching 70° C. Roads then release this heat at night, causing a phenomenon known as the 'urban heat island effect', which leads to increased energy consumption and air pollution.

The need to address the 'urban heat island effect' prompted the experiment with 'cool pavements', made from locally produced materials capable of absorbing less solar radiation. This experiment results in a lower surface temperature than traditional pavements, making it suitable for roads around residential areas.

The authority is developing research and practical experiments as part of its role as a government supervisory and regulatory body for the road sector in the Kingdom. These experiments align with the sector's strategic vision, encouraging innovation.

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