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More Than Cooler Temps—5 Additional Benefits of Cool Pavement

Cool pavements can offer additional benefits that can impact our world and our lives on a daily basis. Read our top five.

From Los Angeles to Melbourne, communities across the globe are using cool pavement in an effort to combat urban heat islands. Through studies, such as Phoenix, Arizona’s Cool Pavement Pilot Program, researchers have discovered that using cool pavement, such as CoolSeal by GuardTop, resulted in lower surface temperatures at all times of day versus traditional asphalt. In fact, as a water-based, asphalt emulsion, CoolSeal meets the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) LEED requirement of 33 percent reflectivity, and can last longer than traditional sealcoats. But what about the lesser-known benefits of cool pavements? According to the EPA’s Reducing Urban Heat Islands: Compendium of Strategies, cool pavements can offer additional benefits that can impact our world and our lives on a daily basis. Check out these top five benefits of cool pavements.

Air Quality & Greenhouse Gas Emissions

As the EPA points out, the decreased energy demand associated with cool pavements will result in lower associated air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, cooler air temperatures can also reduce evaporative emissions from vehicles, and slow the rate of ground-level ozone formation.

Increased Pavement Life & Waste Reduction

The combination of slow, heavy trucks or buses and hot temperatures can lead to rutting, which refers to depressions in wheel paths. But reducing pavement surface temperatures with the use of cool pavement can reduce the risk of premature failure of asphalt pavements. In fact, according to the EPA, reducing the surface temperatures of asphalt pavements will also slow the rate of “aging” that contributes to other distresses.

Quality of Life Benefits

Though some of the benefits of cool pavement won’t be noticed on a daily basis, there are some advantages that can make a difference in our day-to-day lives, starting with comfort. By using cool pavement where children play, for example, lower surface temperatures will make for a more comfortable experience. In addition, reflective pavements can increase visibility at night, which is not only safer, but could also reduce lighting requirements, resulting in money and energy savings. Last but notleast, the EPA suggests that permeable roadway pavements can also enhance safety thanks to better water drainage. Better drainage can increase traction, reduce water spray, and even improve visibility.

Reduced Energy Use

In its Compendium of Strategies, the EPA references a study titled, “Cool Communities: Strategies for Heat Islands Mitigation and Smog Reduction,” that estimated over $90 million per year in savings from temperature reductions attributed to increased pavement albedo in the Los Angeles area. Along those same lines, when permeable pavements evaporate water and contribute to lower air temperatures, they can provide additional energy benefits. Permeable pavements can allow storm water to seep into the ground, which would decrease storm water runoff, resulting in energy savings associated with pumping storm water and maintaining conveyance structures.  

Water Quality & Stormwater Runoff

Similarly, pavements with lower surface temperatures can help lower the temperature of stormwater runoff, reducing the risk of thermal shock for aquatic life found where stormwater drains. According to the EPA, permeable pavements allow water to soak into the pavement and soil, which reduces stormwater runoff, recharges soil moisture, and improves water quality by filtering out dust, dirt, and pollutants.

Stay tuned to the CoolSeal News to learn more about the benefits of cool pavement, and how it’s being used worldwide to combat climate change and build a better tomorrow.

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