Colorful asphalt coatings could keep cities cooler

Updated Apr 10, 2013

asphalt coatingsMore so than any other color, black absorbs sunlight and then radiates that heat. And when black asphalt comprises one-third to two-fifths of the surface area in many cities, things can get pretty warm in the summer months.

So in an effort to cool down the country’s urban areas, researchers in California are testing more colorful coatings for the asphalt that makes up our roads and parking lots.

According to our sister site Better Roads, researchers at the University of California’s Lawrence Berkeley Lab have been using a parking lot at the university to showcase six pavement coatings atop recently installed asphalt to demonstrate the difference the coatings can make.

Rather than absorb sunlight, these coatings reflect it and at a higher rate than conventional surfaces. The coatings reflect between 30 and 50 percent of the energy from sunlight, compared to the 5 percent reflected by most surfaces.

Because of that, the coatings have show surface temperatures that are up to 40 degrees F cooler than asphalt. Check out the video below for more.

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