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Recycle and Reuse Concrete
Cleaner Air and Water
Nall Avenue: A Green St.
Green Highways MD
Green Expressway NC
I-80 in Utah
Green Highways CA
Conserving Fuel
Additional Resources
Global Cooling: Increasing World-wide Urban Albedos to Offset CO2
Environmentally and Economically Sustainable Concrete Pavements
Stormwater Management with Pervious Concrete Pavement
Urban Heat Island EPA - Weather Channel Video

An important but often overlooked consequence of overlaying a concrete surface is an increase in pavement surface temperature and the resulting effect on the surrounding facilities. As temperatures rise, cooling demands and electrical consumption increase. This is a direct consequence of the urban heat island effect. Prior to embarking on a long term strategy of overlaying concrete surfaces with darker-colored materials, agencies should consider the long term consequences and other concerns. The urban heat island effect is no exception…


The image on the top left, below, is an infrared photograph of an asphalt roadway leading into a concrete parking lot in Rio Verde, Arizona; the photo below it presents the same scene.  Note the immediate transition from asphalt (red) to the concrete overlayed parking lot (yellow green) at the driveway.  There was a 30-degree difference in temperatures between the asphalt and the concrete surfaces.  The photo on the top right was taken of an asphalt parking lot adjacent to a golf course.  Note the 85-90 degree temperature of the grass and the 135 degree temperature of the asphalt; the photo below it represents the same scene.


The graph shows the daily temperature of a Phoenix street and the burn temperature for human skin. The study, conducted for emergency medical personnel, found:

  • Exposure of 1 second to pavement at 158 ºF can burn human skin.
  •  At 158 ºF you can cook an egg on a pavement surface in five minutes.
  • Dark-colored pavement emperatures in Phoenix have reached as high as 172 ºF.






The photo at left is an infrared image of an asphalt rubber friction course surface overlay next to a concrete pavement at an installation in Arizona. The asphalt rubber overlay (red area) is near 150 ºF, while the concrete pavement is under 135 ºF. 


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American Concrete Pavement Association
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E-mail: acpa@pavement.com