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Benefits of cool pavement technology go beyond cooler air


Narrator:       This is Science Today. The benefits of cool pavement technology, which includes coatings on asphalt that reflect light, go beyond just cooling the air. They may impact global warming and energy loads. Ben Mandel, who is part of the Heat Island Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, says lighter pavements are more reflective in the visible spectrum, but not all coatings are light in color.

Mandel:         There are also other types of cool pavements that are engineered to reflect more invisible light. So, this can be accomplished by infusing them with certain types of infrared, reflective pigments.

Narrator:       This is called cool color coating. The group has been testing various coatings with industry partners in parking lots at the Berkeley Lab and the University of California, Davis.

Mandel:         We have a dark gray segment of cool pavement that looks very similar to the black asphalt pavement, which the lot is paved with, but it's been engineered to reflect more invisible light than traditional asphalt pavement. So, this allows it to reflect about 20 percent of incoming sunlight as opposed to only 5 to 10 percent of normal asphalt pavement.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.