Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Examples of cooler reflective streets for urban heat-island mitigation
: Portland cement concrete and chip seals
- Author(s): Pomerantz, M.
- Akbari, H.
- Chang, S.-C.
- Levinson, R.
- Pon, B.
- et al.
Part of the urban heat island effect can be attributed to dark pavements that are commonly used on streets and parking lots. In this paper we consider two light colored, hence cooler, alternative paving materials that are in actual use in cities today. These are Portland cement concrete (PCC) pavements and chip seals. We report measurements of the albedos of some PCC and chip sealed pavements in the San Francisco Bay Area. The albedos of the PCC pavements ranged from about 0.18 to 0.35. The temperatures of some PCC pavements are also measured and calculated. We then consider how the albedos of the constituent materials of the PCC (stone, sand and cement) contribute to the albedos of the resulting finished concrete. The albedos of a set of chip sealed pavements in San Jose, CA, were measured and correlated with the times of their placement. It is found that the albedos decrease with age (and use) but remain higher than that of standard asphalt concrete (AC) for about five years. After that, the albedos of the chip seals are about 0.12, similar to aged AC. The fact that many PCC pavements have albedos at least twice as high as aged AC suggests that it is possible to have pavement albedos that remain high for many years.