Research Program Area: Climate Change
The use of high-albedo "cool" pavements can be considered in programs intended to help cities, regions, and the state meet California's greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction and sustainable community goals. While cool pavements can mitigate urban heat islands, improve urban air quality, and in some cases reduce GHG emissions from building energy use, it is also important to consider the environmental consequences of pavement materials and pavement construction, and thus the life-cycle environmental impacts. Recognizing this, the researchers developed a pavement life-cycle assessment for California cities and translated it into a dynamic decision support tool. Local officials can use this tool to evaluate the life-cycle environmental impacts of various pavements, both conventional (lower albedo) and cool (higher albedo). Users can determine, based on outputs from the tool, which options translate to reductions or increases in global warming potential, smog formation potential, generation of particulate matter, and energy demand. Local governments may use the tool as they evaluate pavement-related strategies for reducing their carbon footprints, which will in turn help the state meet its climate goals. It may also be useful as they weigh the potential public health impacts of different pavement options.
Information on how to access the tool is in the Final Report.
For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753
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