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GYR Tips for Paved Surfaces

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Paved surface is one of the key contributors to the heat island effect. In a typical City, paved surfaces are one-third to one-half of surface area. In Fort Lauderdale, we are taking every opportunity to create green space, from parks to medians and swales, from greenways to parklets, and from community gardens to rooftops and terraces. But like any thriving City, we can do a lot to mitigate the heat radiating from our hardscape. Especially when paved surfaces are dark, heat is absorbed by them and then radiated back into the air. In 2008, then Department of Energy Secretary Chu remarked: “Changing surface colors in 100 of the world's largest cities could save the equivalent of 44 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide — about as much as global carbon emissions are expected to rise by over the next decade.” Closer to home, changing the color, material, or pattern of paving makes practical sense by cooling your surroundings and making barefoot walking more comfortable — something that we do almost every day and year round in sunny Fort Lauderdale. Updating paving has the added benefit of being good for our waterways and aquifer if the new paving is pervious too. Fort Lauderdale’s building and development codes increasingly encourage careful selection of paving materials and replacing paving with green space.

 Berkeley Lab - Lawrence Berkeley National Labratory Use reflective coatings on existing paving.
If the paving surrounding your business is black or another dark color, painting on a specialized coating to lighten or cool the color of the asphalt and increase its SRI (solar reflectivity index) can be very effective in lowering the surrounding air temperature and extending the life of the paving, thereby lowering energy and maintenance costs. This is an especially effective strategy when larger surfaces, such as parking lots, large driveways, and neighborhood sidewalks are coated. The coatings work by reflecting back 30 to 50 percent of the sun’s energy, as compared to black asphalt. And, the older the asphalt, the more coating it will improve it. The difference in a coated surface temperature can be as much as 30°F cooler! Coatings come in a range of attractive colors, and some even have a darker appearance but a higher SRI value, minimizing the change in aesthetics. They can be applied quickly and relatively inexpensively and can be used in lieu of the traditional sealcoats that are a normal aspect of parking lot, driveway or other surface maintenance. The City of Fort Lauderdale’s Orchid Parking Lot is coated in this manner, and plans to coat all of our open air lots are in process. Learn more about cool paving
 Science Friday  Consider switching to a pervious or permeable cool paving option.
Pervious paving is a continuous surface material, such as specially formulated cements and concretes, which allow water to run through and into the ground below. Permeable pavers are generally closely set or interlocking pieces of a durable material interspersed with a pervious cover such as sand, gravel or vegetative ground cover. Because these pavers are generally made from lighter or cooler colored materials than asphalt, and because they often accommodate plant material, both options can significantly lower surface temperature, as well as help filter deposits that are harmful to our waterways. If your paving project involves the removal of concrete or asphalt, remember that both can be recycled, another benefit to the environment and potentially a cost savings to you. Ask your contractor for more information.
 City of Fort Lauderdale  Build a parklet.
Parklets entail purposeful replacement of paved surfaces, generally on street parking spaces, with green space. The objective is to create space that is cooling and visually appealing, as well as useful to the community. If you own or rent a streetside commercial property in the City of Fort Lauderdale, our Parklet Program is available to you, but even homeowners and neighborhoods can apply the same principles.

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