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Applications  > Paving
Driveways, parking lots and sidewalks
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Cement drivewayConcrete provides a durable, attractive paved surface for roads, driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots.
why
Concrete allows more decorative patternsConcrete driveways and parking lots are preferred over other materials primarily for their durability and appearance.
 
Customer Satisfaction: Homeowners were surveyed, and of those already owning a concrete driveway, 96% said they would choose concrete again. Concrete driveways and parking areas can have a dramatic effect on the first impression, value, and resale potential of a home, rental unit, or business.

Warranty Programs: Warranty programs for concrete driveways are available in many parts of the country.
 
cement parking lot
Versatility, Texture, Color, and Flair: Concrete can be colored, stamped, or stenciled to create a variety of textures and decorative finishes, including the color and appearance of brick, tile, slate, or stone. Exposed aggregate is another popular finish. Concrete driveways and parking areas can be an extension of the landscaping or building design.
sustainability
Concrete driveways and parking lots are preferred over other materials primarily for their durability and appearance.

Durability—Long Life: Concrete provides a longer life than any other leading paving materials. Concrete driveways stand up to daily traffic, often for over 30 years. Concrete does not rut or shove due to traffic or warm temperatures.
Concrete driveway

Durability—Low Maintenance: No annual seal coating is required for concrete driveways. Choosing concrete for parking areas means lower maintenance costs—less sealing, re-striping, resurfacing, and loss of business during maintenance operations.

Cooler Surfaces: Concrete’s higher reflectance keeps surfaces cooler and helps minimize the urban heat island effect. May contribute to LEED Credit SS 7.
 
Brighter Nighttime Surfaces: Concrete’s higher (brighter) reflectance can lower infrastructure and ongoing lighting costs, while boosting safety for vehicles and pedestrians. Concrete parking areas require fewer lighting fixtures than other surfaces and less energy is required for lighting.
 
mall lighting shows concrete impact

Concrete's lighter surface color reduces the need for exterior night-time lighting and creates a safer space. (NCRMA)

 
considerations

Job size, turnaround time, equipment technology, labor intensity, and surface smoothness are crucial factors in selecting a system for placement and finishing. Concrete paving technology continues to advance, making concrete construction quicker than ever.
Light colored concrete parking area reflects light and improves appearance
For large parking areas, innovations such as slipform paving machines offer the highest production rates of any construction method, and yield uniform, durable surfaces. Technologically advanced finishing methods like laser screeding combine precision and speed to produce the highest-quality results.
 
For driveways, unreinforced pavement 4 inches thick is standard for passenger cars. For heavier vehicles, a thickness of 5 inches is recommended. To eliminate standing water and for proper drainage, the driveway should be sloped towards the street a minimum of 1%, or 1/8 inch per foot.

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Resources
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 Pervious Concrete
Concrete Technology, August, 2007
A properly designed pervious concrete pavement system can reduce the environmental impact often associated with development. This overview discusses the hydrologic design of pervious concrete, both passive and active mitigation systems and the important consideration in design for storms. The article includes a link to a publication on pervious paving design as well.
Located at BookstoreDesign and Control of Concrete Mixtures, 14th Edition (2002)
S.H. Kosmatka, B. Kerkhoff, and W.C. Panarese, Portland Cement Association, Item Code EB001, 372 pages
Available for $80 Definitive reference on concrete technology covers fundamentals and detailed information on freshly mixed and hardened concrete. Extensively updated and expanded, this new edition discusses materials for concrete, such as portland cements, supplementary cementing materials, aggregates, admixtures and fibers; air entrainment; procedures for mix proportioning, batching, mixing, transporting, handling, placing, consolidating, finishing, and curing concrete; precautions necessary during hot- and cold-weather concreting; causes and methods of controlling volume changes; commonly used control tests for quality concrete; special types of concrete, such as high-performance, lightweight, heavyweight, no-slump, roller-compacted, shotcrete, mass concrete and many more. Applicable ASTM, AASHTO, and ACI standards are referred to extensively.
Located at BookstoreInfluence of Pavement Reflectance on Lighting for Parking Lots (2005)
Adrian, W. and Jobanputra, R. Item Code: SN2458
Available for free. This investigation has compared the lighting performance of concrete and asphalt surfaces of parking lots. The resulting amount of energy saved for a typical parking lot lighting system was attained for equivalent average surface luminances. Equivalent average surfaces were compared in two ways: by modifying lamp power and by reducing the number of lighting poles.
Download DocumentLife Cycle Cost Literature Survey (2000)
Katie Amelio and Martha G. VanGeem, PCA R&D Serial No. 2484, Portland Cement Association, 41 pgs
Available for free. Life cycle cost analysis is currently a valuable tool in the construction industry and will become more so as resources become more scarce. Selecting the materials and components of structures and pavements based on a life cycle cost analysis can significantly decrease the lifetime cost of construction, maintenance and repair. This literature survey gathers life cycle cost information for concrete and competing materials from a variety of sources, summarizes the results, and describes the resulting searchable database. The database is a resourceful tool for those who would like to obtain additional information on life cycle cost analysis and results. The searchable life cycle cost database with abstracts, in Filemaker Pro® format, is available to Portland Cement Association (PCA) member companies, PCA staff, and cement promotion groups.
Located at External Web SiteA Sustainable Approach to Outdoor Lighting Utilizing Concrete Pavement
By Lawrence C. Novak, SE, SECB, LEED® AP David N. Bilow, PE, SE
Located at External Web SiteBeyond Initial & Life Cycle Costs-The Other Factors in Pavement Selection
American Concrete Pavement Association
A Powerpoint presentation by Kevin McMullen of the Wisconsin Concrete Paving Association that looks at the environmental factors impacting the pavement selection process. Contact rjolly@pavement.com for a free copy.
Located at External Web SiteConcrete Homes
Portland Cement Association
A web resource for general information on concrete homes.
Located at External Web SiteConcrete Pavement- A Case for Sustainability
American Concrete Paving Association
Contact the American Concrete Paving Association at rjolly@pavement.com for a copy of a Powerpoint presentation that investigates the case for concrete pavements and the role that pavements play in mitigating urban heat islands, energy cost savings and long term performance.
Located at External Web SiteEnvironmental and Cost Benefits of High Albedo Concrete
By Erin Ashley, PhD, LEED AP, Director of Codes and Sustainability, NRMCA
Located at External Web SiteGreen Streets Calculator
Concrete roads deflect less under loading, so trucks get better fuel mileage and require less fuel to construct than asphalt roads.
With more attention than ever being focused on energy conservation, vehicle fuel efficiency, and new alternatives such as hybrid cars and bio-diesel, few people realize the significance of road-type on energy use.
Located at External Web SiteNational Center of Excellence SMART Materials Program
The National Center of Excellence on SMART Materials is a joint U.S. EPA - Arizona State University partnership formed to bring together researchers of various disciplines in developing the next generation of urban materials to reduce the dependence on non-renewable energy and adverse impacts to the urban climate. The National Center of Excellence will be the leading national research and outreach laboratory in supporting regional governments and industry in meeting the needs of rapid urbanization and infrastructure.
Located at External Web SiteNational Ready Mixed Concrete Association
Industry resource for ready mixed concrete.
Located at External Web SiteOne Block, One Mile, One World: Recycling Pavement with Full-Depth Reclamation
This pocket-size DVD includes a 6-minute video on the benefits and sustainable aspects of using full-depth reclamation (FDR) to rehabilitate deteriorated asphalt pavements. It features construction scenes from a project in Dallas and includes several testimonials highlighting the many sustainable aspects of FDR. Windows format only.
Located at External Web SitePavement - Concrete Parking Website
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
This link takes you to the environmental benefits section of ConcreteParking.org, where you can learn about the range of technology to reduce storm water problems and urban heat island effects.
Located at External Web SiteSedimentation of Pervious Concrete Pavement Systems
Pervious concrete pavement systems (PCPS) are a unique and effective means to address important environmental issues and support green, sustainable growth, by capturing stormwater and allowing it to infiltrate into the underlying soil. Sedimentation leading to clogging is a potential problem in serviceability of PCPS.
Located at External Web SiteSolar Reflectance of Concretes for LEED Sustainable Sites Credit: Heat Island Effect
by Medgar L. Marceau and Martha G. VanGeem
This report presents the results of solar reflectance testing on 135 concrete specimens from 45 concrete mixes, representing a broad range of concretes. This testing determined which combinations of concrete constituents meet the solar reflectance index requirements in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction (LEED-NC) Sustainable Sites credit for reducing the heat island effect. All concretes in this study had average solar reflectances of at least 0.30 (corresponding to an SRI of at least 29), and therefore meet the requirements of LEED-NC SS 7.1. These concretes also meet the requirements for steep-sloped roofs in LEED-NC SS 7.2. The lowest solar reflectances were from concretes composed of dark gray fly ash. The solar reflectance of the cement had more effect on the solar reflectance of the concrete than any other constituent material. The solar reflectance of the supplementary cementitious material had the second greatest effect.