A new type of concrete could cool cities

Average air temperatures in cities with one million or more people can be much higher than in less densely populated areas. An important reason for this trend is the abundance of impermeable pavement surfaces made of concrete or asphalt. And as the Earth gets warmer due to climate change, urban areas are becoming increasingly difficult to live in.

That’s why researchers from Rutgers University have demonstrated how special permeable concrete pavement can reduce the urban heat island effect. Thanks to its ability to let water drain through it and a surface that efficiently reflects heat, the permeable concrete can significantly reduce heat, even up to 30 per cent on days after rainfall. And the engineers have also improved the thermal conductivity of this construction material, ensuring that it can transfer heat faster to the ground. The next phase of the research is making permeable concrete stronger, so that it can be used in urban streets.

The negative effects of ‘heat islands’

High temperatures in cities have a number of negative effects. They increase energy consumption due to the use of air conditioners and contribute to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Also, heat-related illnesses and deaths can be caused by heat islands.