Cool pavements as a sustainable approach to green streets and highways

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



The urban cityscape is covered with man made materials that absorb the suns light. Darkly colored roads and roofs have replaced surface area which was once predominantly vegetated lands. For these reasons summertime ambient temperatures in cities are typically warmer than those of rural areas. This phenomenon is known as the heat island effect. Heat islands lead to increased air conditioning use which puts a strain on a cities energy grid. To supply this extra wattage municipal power plants must work harder and as a result emit more carbon. Therefore, the heat island effect contributes to environmental problems including air quality and climate change. Dark impervious pavements cover a large amount of urban surface area, typically 30-45%. One solution to this problem is the implementation of cool pavement technologies in pavement areas of less stringent structural requirements such as parking lots and low volume roads. Cool pavements are a class of materials that exhibit enhanced cooling by means of increased reflectivity or increased convection. This study correlates heat island effect to climate change as well as outlining the different cool pavement technologies which may help to mitigate climate change effects. © 2010 ASCE.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Green Streets and Highways 2010: An Interactive Conference on the State of the Art and How to Achieve Sustainable Outcomes - Proceedings of the Green Streets and Highways 2010 Conference



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