A pilot of coated pavement surfaces to address the heat island effect in the UAE


Image courtesy Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MOEI), United Arab Emirates

Policy approach(es) used to catalyse investment: Development of a national, regional, or sectoral InfraTech strategy 

Key benefits: 

  Climate mitigation 

  Climate adaptation 

Scale of deployment: 

Deployed at Zayed Educational Complex, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates 

Project value: 


Project start/end dates: 

May 2020–May 2022 

Current status of the project: 

R&D, Operational 

Solar reflection can influence pavement warming, and this warming has the potential to increase urban heat islands and contribute to global warming by warming the local air and transferring heat into the atmosphere.  The main objective of this research project is to assess the performance of the cool pavement technology (white coated pavement surfaces) in Zayed Educational Complex in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The cool pavement technology is considered a new reflective surface treatment that improves the reflectivity of the pavement. 

The cool pavement technology project supports the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MOEI), United Arab Emirates Sustainability Strategy: Organising, planning, and guaranteeing the sustainability of the infrastructure, and the transport sector. It also supports national and global strategies including the Green Economy for Sustainable Development, National Climate Change Plan of the UAE 2017–2050, UAE strategy for the Future, National Strategy for Advanced Innovation, National Strategy for Wellbeing 203, UAE Circular Economy Policy, goal 11 of the UN SDGs, and Centennial Plan 2071. 

Watergy International Group developed the cool pavement technology to improve albedo control technologies that can compensate the carbon footprint, supporting sustainability and environmental protection and quality of life. The project was tested by the University of Sharjah and supported by MOEI. 

UAE cool pavement pilot in action

Image courtesy Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MOEI), United Arab Emirates

During the project, solar reflectance, thermal emittance, solar reflective index, and solar UVA measurements from the coated and uncoated pavement surfaces were monitored and measured. The pilot found that in the summer raising the albedo of the pavement surface from 20% to 70% lowered the surface temperature from 60?C to 47?C. This represents a 22% decrease in pavement surface temperature.  Benefits of the technology include:

  • Improved pavement durability that deforms less quickly and lasts longer because of the decreasing absorption of solar radiation over time
  • Reduced outside air temperature improving comfort and reducing heat-related sickness and mortality
  • Reduced dependence on air conditioners resulting in use less energy to cool buildings
  • Lower requirement for night-time electric street lighting reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


The technology can be used for other applications such as marking roads and highways, airplane runways, car parks, playgrounds and sports grounds with asphalt and concrete pavements, and build roofs.


Note: This case study and all information within was submitted by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MOEI), United Arab Emirates in response to our global call for InfraTech case studies.

Last Updated: 21 October 2022