“Hotter than Georgia asphalt” is a common colloquialism in the South, but Georgia is not the only locale with asphalt that’s hotter than blue blazes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), temperatures on conventional paving materials can have a temperature of 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Those high temperatures transfer into the air, creating heat islands in urban areas with a lot of paved surfaces. If there’s anything we know about here at Tucker Paving, it’s how hot pavement can get.

Heat islands have temperatures up to 7 degrees warmer than outlying areas during the day. A high concentration of infrastructure, like buildings and pavement, and a lack of greenery all contribute to creating heat islands. The high temperatures created by infrastructure like pavement also transfer to storm runoff and can heat up local waterways to an unnatural degree. Organizations like the EPA and urban community leaders are turning to cool pavement, among other mitigations, to try to reduce the effects of heat islands. 

Cool Pavements Explained

Cool pavements are a range of products or technologies that are used to reduce the amount of UV rays absorbed by pavement; this reduces the higher temperatures of pavement and thus reduces the heat island effect. There are many different strategies that fall under the cool pavements umbrella. They include:

  • Increasing the solar reflective properties of conventional concrete and asphalt pavements, such as through adding dyes and materials that reflect more solar power.
  • Permeable pavements—which allow air, water, and water vapor into the spaces of the pavement, which keeps the material cool when wet.
  • Water Retentive Pavements have a sublayer that retains water and allows it to evaporate slowly.
  • Water sprinkling. The pavements are kept moist using underground piping ensure the pavement stays moist.. 
  • Microsurfacing, which is a thin sealing layer used to lower the heat absorption of the pavement.
  • Vegetated permeable pavements, such as grass pavers and concrete grid pavers, that allow grass and other plants to grow in the cracks.

Benefits of Cool Pavements

The suitability of different cool pavements for a project depends on many different factors, such as the traffic the pavement will need to be able to handle, the cost of materials and installation, and the suitability of the cool pavement for the area. Possible benefits that could be reaped include:

  • Reducing pavement heat and the heat island effect.
  • Reducing stormwater runoff.
  • Reducing stormwater temperatures and the impact to aquatic wildlife in waterways that take on stormwater.
  • Improved water quality as some cool pavements filter pollutants.
  • A reduction in tire noise.
  • Increased traction and thus improved safety on roadways and walkways.
  • Improved nighttime visibility.

Cool pavements options will continue to expand and develop, especially as more data is collected about the benefits of this innovation.

We have almost 30 years of experience in the asphalt and concrete paving industry, and innovation is the name of the game! We complete projects for residential, commercial, and municipal clients. Contact us by calling (863) 299-2262, oruse our contact form online. How can we help you with your next concrete or asphalt paving project?