PHOENIX - Valley environmental groups are taking action to make sure notoriously hot neighborhoods are more prepared for heat waves.
At certain times of the day, neighborhoods just east of downtown Phoenix, can be about ten degrees warner than some of the surrounding areas around town. With a lot of concrete and lack of vegetation to blame, environmental groups are coming together to come up with a Heat Action Plan, for areas just like this.
According to Jessica Buena, with Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, it just so happens many of the hottest areas town are also some of the most impoverished.
"What happens in the summer is a really hard economic hardship on the families because that is when the air conditioning and electricity bills go up," said Buena.
Maggie Messerschmidt, with The Nature Conservancy, said many residents in neighborhoods like Emerson and East Lake, east of downtown are still living with inefficient air conditioning. That is exactly why valley environmental groups have come together to start the Nature's Cooling Systems Project.
"That's what this project is really about, it's ensuring that all of the best knowledge out there is being shared with community members directly," said Messerschmidt.
By canvassing these neighborhoods and hearing first hand stories, the project works with the community to come up with a Heat Action Plan.
"The solutions that we develop together is more directed to people's experiences and the solutions that they think will work in their communities," said Messerschmidt.
Some of those solutions may be implementing resources for energy efficient home upgrades and strategically planting trees to help lower the overall temperature in these neighborhoods.
The Nature's System Project will be holding a workshop at the Aeroterra Community Center on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for residents to get involved with the project and share their ideas.