Cool, green (literally) parking lot to open in downtown Phoenix

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Cool Pavement parking lot at Duffy High School By Catherine Holland Cool Pavement parking lot at Duffy High School By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX – Downtown Phoenix is getting a unique parking lot that is both cool and green – literally and figuratively.

The 90,000-square-foot temporary parking located between First, Second, Taylor and Polk streets is made of Cool Pavement and is designed to help cool the city this summer.

The lot is covered with Emerald Cities™ “Celadon Green” solar reflective permanent cool coating, aka Cool Pavement. On hot days, that coating is supposed to reduce hot surfaces by at least 30 degrees and as much as 50 degrees. It also is designed to help reduce CO2 and generally help mitigate the effects of a downtown urban heat island.

"Changing surface colors in 100 of the world’s largest cities could save the equivalent of 44 billion tons of carbon dioxide — about as much as global carbon emissions are expected to rise by over the next decade,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu in 2008.

How does it work? The simplest explanation is that Cool Pavement does not absorb heat the way regular asphalt does.

Work began on the downtown parking lot on May 25 with crews working at night because the pavement is cooler. With “Cool Pavement,” the old asphalt does not need to be removed. Rather, cracks are patched and the entire surface is power washed before being sealed with the ultra thin concrete protective coating.

According to Emerald Cities™, Cool Pavement can be mixed and ready to use in about 15 to 20 minutes and dries with two hours. Coated surfaces can be opened to traffic in four hours. It addition, the material is quite durable, lasting significantly longer than traditional resurfacing materials.

The Cool Pavement project will be unveiled at an event on June 10 during which the last stroke of color will be laid down on the Polk Street side of the parking lot.

This will be the nationwide debut of the Emerald Cities™ Cool Pavement solution, which is the first of its kind developed for use on roads, parking lots, cross walks, school yards and decorative public surfaces.

The Cool Pavement product was first applied in a “recovery zone” at Robert Duffy High School (pictured above) at 24th and Jefferson streets in Phoenix. (Watch video of the installation.) According to Emerald Cities™ the surface temperature of the asphalt was 162 degrees in September. After Cool Pavement was applied, that temperature, as measured by Emerald Cities™, dropped 30 degrees to 132.

The installation at the downtown parking lot, which is the old Ramanda Inn site, reportedly cost about $100,000.

Emerald Cities™ plans to have its Cool Pavement in 100 cities by 2012.

The Duffy High School project