With cool pavement and cool roofs installed in the region, we can reflect 20-60% of solar energy back into space, thereby cooling the area. Trees and shade cover can also bring surface temperatures down by up to 40 degrees. Tools like Treeviewer show how much tree coverage East Valley has, as well as the potential for new trees. Currently, parts of East Valley have up to 5% to 8% less tree coverage than the county average, showing that there is potential for new trees to cool the area and advance equity. By taking these steps, East Valley will be better prepared for extreme heat days.
Through urban greening, air quality monitoring, and reducing pollution, East Valley can transform its air quality. Tree canopy and ground-level vegetation absorb and disperse pollutants, and they can reduce heat at the same time. An air quality monitoring plan will keep track of the amount of pollutants in the region and allow people to take precautions like using pollution masks or avoiding outdoor activities. Lastly, by improving the accessibility of active and public transportation, we can address both air quality issues but also heat issues. For example, bus shelters can reduce heat and encourage bus ridership, thus addressing heat and air quality issues at the same time. Overall, these methods can lower the amount of cars and the pollutants produced from them, thereby improving air quality in the East Valley.
Clearing excess dry brush and plant life around homes can provide defensible space to prevent fires from spreading. An expert eye can also catch issues like ventilation systems that allow embers to enter a residence, and a need for nearby water sources. Tax increment finance or other measures can help fund these resources. For communities not immediately at risk of wildfire, the threat of wildfire smoke is still very real. Indoor air filtration systems, air quality monitoring programs, and access to pollution masks are all important measures to keep people safe.
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