Publication Detail

The Use of Reflective and Permeable Pavements as a Potential Practice for Heat Island Mitigation and Stormwater Management



UC Pavement Research Center

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Suggested Citation:
Li, Hui, John T. Harvey, Joseph Holland, Masoud Kayhanian (2013) The Use of Reflective and Permeable Pavements as a Potential Practice for Heat Island Mitigation and Stormwater Management. Environmental Research Letters 8 (1), 1 - 14

Part of Focus on Environmental Assessments in the Built Environment

To help address the built environmental issues of both heat island and stormwater runoff, strategies that make pavements cooler and permeable have been investigated through measurements and modeling of a set of pavement test sections. The investigation included the hydraulic and thermal performance of the pavements. The permeability results showed that permeable interlocking concrete pavers have the highest permeability (or infiltration rate, ~0.5 cm s−1). The two permeable asphalt pavements showed the lowest permeability, but still had an infiltration rate of ~0.1 cm s−1, which is adequate to drain rainwater without generating surface runoff during most typical rain events in central California. An increase in albedo can significantly reduce the daytime high surface temperature in summer. Permeable pavements under wet conditions could give lower surface temperatures than impermeable pavements. The cooling effect highly depends on the availability of moisture near the surface layer and the evaporation rate. The peak cooling effect of watering for the test sections was approximately 15–35 °C on the pavement surface temperature in the early afternoon during summer in central California. The evaporative cooling effect on the pavement surface temperature at 4:00 pm on the third day (25 h after watering) was still 2–7 °C lower compared to that on the second day, without considering the higher air temperature on the third day. A separate and related simulation study performed by UCPRC showed that full depth permeable pavements, if designed properly, can carry both light-duty traffic and certain heavy-duty vehicles while retaining the runoff volume captured from an average California storm event. These preliminarily results indicated the technical feasibility of combined reflective and permeable pavements for addressing the built environment issues related to both heat island mitigation and stormwater runoff management.