SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is celebrating Climate Week this week, and officials were in Springfield on Thursday to demonstrate a new asphalt treatment aimed at cooling down urban areas.

Normal asphalt contributes to what experts call the “urban heat island effect,” which is when metropolitan areas end up being hotter than rural ones. This is because buildings, roads, and parking lots end up absorbing and re-emitting more of the sun’s rays.

A new reflective coating on the asphalt at the Memorial Pool in Springfield aims to reduce that effect and keep the area cool for the summer.

“It’s really important in the summer, because whenever we have a heat wave or days that are close to approaching 90 degrees, it really impacts the air quality,” explained Sarah White, Director of Climate Resilience for the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

DCR says that they’re running this pilot program in areas that the most people are walking and standing outside.