Extreme heat can create environmental and health issues for Florida cities and their residents. For communities living within an urban heat island, urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas, the dangerous threats to people and the ecosystem intensifies.
The heat island effect happens because structures such as buildings and roads absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes such as forests and water bodies. This creates “islands” of higher temperatures relative to outlying areas. Dark pavement is a major contributor to this phenomenon. It can absorb 80-95% of sunlight. This contributes to daytime temperatures in urban areas that are up to 7 degrees higher than temperatures in outlying areas; nighttime temperatures can be up to 5 degrees higher*.
“Reducing the urban heat island effect should be paramount for cities and communities,” said Matt Sitter. Sitter is the president of the Florida Concrete & Products Association. “Effective cooling strategies including the use of cooler pavements can help mitigate this issue.”
Concrete is a cooler, lighter, more reflective surface that can help lower the outside air temperature. This makes it more comfortable to be outside, while reducing heat-related illnesses and slowing the formation of smog. These lower temperatures also allow air conditioners to cool buildings with less energy. This reduces the emission of greenhouse gases and also other pollutants from power plants.
Additionally, concrete roads help reduce excess fuel consumption, thereby reducing vehicle emissions. According to the EPA, if there was a conversion of all urban and rural roads in the continental US into reflective pavements, it could reduce CO2 emissions by 34,703 kilotons per year. That is the equivalent of removing 7.4 million, or roughly 7%, of passenger vehicles from the road nationwide.
To learn more about the environmental benefit of paving Florida’s roads and parking lots with concrete, residents can visit www.pavewise.com.
*Source: Environmental Protection Agency
About the Florida Concrete & Products Association (FC&PA)
The Florida Concrete & Products Association (FC&PA) is a multi-faceted trade association founded in 1955 and headquartered in Orlando, Fla. to promote the use of concrete. FC&PA represents more than 90 companies statewide that produce ready-mixed concrete, concrete pipe, cement, aggregate, concrete block, concrete masonry, and admixtures for concrete. As one of the largest state concrete associations in the United States, FC&PA also develops and implements numerous marketing, technical and educational programs that focus on new innovative products, as well as proper installation and construction procedures for all types of concrete products. For more information, visit fcpa.org.
Pavewise was created by the Florida Concrete & Products Association. Its goal is to educate the public on the environmental and financial benefits of choosing concrete to pave highways, streets, and parking lots. For more information, visit www.pavewise.com.