The New York Times Green Issue highlighted Chicago’s use of pervious concrete in an ongoing project called Green Alley’s which is a renovation of the pavement in the cities alley space from impervious concrete to permeable concrete that is also high albedo.
Permeable pavement has pores or openings that allow water to pass through the surface and percolate through the existing subsoil. Permeable pavement comes in the form of asphalt, concrete and pavers. In areas where soils do not drain freely, permeable pavement can be used in combination with subsurface drainage systems to slow runoff and reduce stress on the sewer system.
High albedo pavement material is light in color and reflects sunlight away from the surface. With less sunlight absorbed by pavement, less heat is radiated by the pavement. High albedo pavement therefore reduces the urban heat island effect. This reduces cooling costs, helps the survival of urban vegetation and improves air quality which can help reduce the symptoms of some respiratory diseases.
Watch for many other communities to fall in line with this new construction material and drainage solution.
Here’s a great example of pervious concrete in action.