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AZ Pilots ‘Cool’ Asphalt Pavement

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

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Emerald Cities cool pavement

A black asphalt Arizona parking lot that reaches 200 degrees in the summertime has been replaced with a solar-reflective “green” pavement that can withstand heavy traffic and decrease surface temperature by up to 50 degrees, the manufacturer says.

Emerald Cities USA Ltd. recently donated and installed the 24,000-square-foot parking lot at the Robert L. Duffy Charter School in Phoenix’s Recovery Zone.

The project aims “to showcase the importance of Cool Pavement coatings as a climate change solution for inner cities,” said Emerald Cities USA, a division of Emerald Cities International.

Traffic Resistance

Two years in development, the zero-carbon product is a nano-engineered, ultra-high-performance thin concrete (UHPTC) that can be rolled or sprayed on like paint, according to the manufacturer. The nano-composite will hold up under the wear and tear of traffic, the company says.

Emerald Cities says the product is 1/6 inch thick, 4,300+ psi, skid resistant, impervious to UV, non-delaminating, and costs $1 per square foot. Asphalt milling is not required before surfacing. Emerald Cities says its pavements have an average Solar Reflectance Index of .40 to .55.

The product extends the service life of existing asphalt and comes in shades of gray with its own patch mix for road repair and maintenance, the company says. 

Cool Schools, Communities

The manufacturer has established several initiatives to put the product into wider use.

A nonprofit “Cool Schools” program seeks corporate sponsorship of community events where students, faculty and parents can “cool coat” their own school yards with donated Emerald Cool Pavement material.

“The importance of ‘Cool Pavement’ in a school setting cannot be overstated,” Emerald Cities said in a press release. “Thermal heat radiated from asphalt remains between 1-4 feet from the surface and is a ‘danger zone’ where children play during recess.”

In addition, the Heat Island Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory signed an agreement last week with Emerald Cities to take its “Cool Communities” seminar nationwide, targeting mayors, municipalities and the transportation industry, among others.

Black asphalt covers 60% of city surfaces and is the largest “silent contributor” to heat, smog and carbon emissions hanging over the cities, the manufacturer says.  


Tagged categories: Research; Roads/Highways

Comment from TATIANA FEDOROVA, (1/20/2011, 3:35 AM)

Does anybody know about other applications of that "cool asphalt"? Or that site in AZ is the first one?

Comment from James Joyce, (1/20/2011, 10:44 AM)

Maintaining 50F surface temperatures in AZ during daytime in summer is thermodynamically impossible. This must be a misprint!

Comment from Karl Kardel, (1/20/2011, 12:16 PM)

I am skeptical about 60 degree surface temp. Even white roofs are a bit warmer than air temp. But it should offer extended life to asphalt. I walk my dogs around a lake in N. California where the small walkways have a white stripe in the middle. The asphalt has split in the center and migrated apart. In some of my buildings, the parking lot break apart due to migration. Maybe this can be a big help. $1.00 sq. ft. adds up, though.

Comment from Sheri Roese, (1/20/2011, 12:52 PM)

Regarding the 50F surface temperature: It is a publisher mistake. I am the owner of the company. On a hot day, asphalt (at least in Phoenix) can average between 160F to 200F. This product can cool the surface temp by 30F-50F degrees, depending on the color. The lighter colors are cooler. So the truth is that we can get the surface temp down to 110F-150F, that's all. Thanks for your commentary.

Comment from Sheri Roese, (1/20/2011, 12:58 PM)

Cool Pavement is a new concept being promoed by the Department of Energy. They also originated the Cool Roof program and have been successful with mandating it at all DOE facilities in the United States plus communities are now doing it.

Comment from Mary Chollet, (1/20/2011, 1:31 PM)

Thank you for correcting the record. Our apologies for the error. The article has been corrected.

Comment from Joe Mcinnis, (1/20/2011, 3:01 PM)

By lowering the summer time temp, how does the product affect the ductility of the asphalt in the winter? If used in colder areas of the US will frost be driven deeper into the roadway substrate, impacting its stability?

Comment from TATIANA FEDOROVA, (1/21/2011, 2:22 AM)

What about freeze-thaw cycles? What minimum temperature can it withstand? How does it perform at 0 F temperature?

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