Permeable Concrete Could Help Reduce Urban Heat Island Effect

Posted on August 1, 2019

Specimen of Permeable Concrete

The above image shows a specimen of permeable concrete. Researchers from Rutgers found increased use of this type of pavement could help reduce the urban heat island effect.

The study found that permeable concrete pavement gives off slightly more heat on sunny days compared with conventional concrete pavement, but 25 to 30 percent less heat on days after rainfall. The research paper was published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. Rutgers engineers also improved the design of permeable concrete so that is has high thermal conductivity, meaning it can transfer heat more quickly to the ground.

Hao Wang, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and co-author of the study, says in a statement, "Highly efficient permeable concrete pavement can be a valuable, cost-effective solution in cities to mitigate the urban heat island effect, while benefitting stormwater management and improving water quality."

The Rutgers-led research team is currently studying how to make permeable concrete stronger and more durable so it can be used in urban streets. So far it has primarily been used for lightly trafficked areas like sidewalks, parking lots and rest areas.

Image: Hao Wang/Rutgers University-New Brunswick