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concrete lighting efficiencyLight reflective floors and walls improve illumination inside buildings by reflecting light from both natural and artificial sources. White and light-reflective surfaces provide a background that reduces shadows from large machinery, stacked goods, and tall racks. Instead of adding more costly lighting units or increasing their intensity, creating a light surface is a passive means of improving illumination.
Improved illumination leads to increased visibility, which is an important consideration for a wide range of buildings, from factories to warehouses to grocery stores or other retail establishments. Light reflective floors, walls, driveways, and parking lots can create an inherently safer facility, while saving energy and money for building owners.
Increased lighting benefits are actually achieved with surfaces with a higher reflectance, but light color can usually be used as a surrogate for high reflectance. Tests are available for measuring reflectance of material surfaces.


concrete lighting efficiencyOrdinary concrete and other reflective surfaces will reduce energy costs associated with indoor and outdoor lighting. The more reflective surfaces will reduce the amount of fixtures and lighting required. Concrete exposed to the interior will help reduce interior lighting requirements. Light colored exterior walls will reduce outdoor lighting requirements. Energy costs for lighting concrete parking lots can be 35% less than those for asphalt parking lots. The need for less light poles for concrete parking lots will reduce the cost even more.
While ordinary concrete has a relatively high reflectance (about 0.35), using white cement results in an even higher reflectance (about 0.75).
Using white cement, white fine aggregate, and white coarse aggregate for concrete provides the brightest white surface and consistent color through the entire depth of the concrete. Since natural white sands may not be available everywhere, a manufactured sand that is crushed from white stone is a good alternative. In this case, both fine and coarse aggregate can be derived from a single source, resulting in uniform concrete color.
There are several options for building light reflective floors. When white concrete is placed for the entire slab thickness, it is referred to as full-depth construction. This method allows the concrete to be handled and placed with the same basic procedures used for ordinary concrete floors. Alternately, a layer of white concrete can be placed over new or existing floors. In new construction, this is known as a two-course floor, and in retrofit applications, this would be a topping (generally bonded to the base slab). New floor surfaces can also be made light reflective by applying proprietary shake-on materials to the fresh concrete. Each of these options—full-depth, two-course, toppings, and shake-ons—result in permanent color, unlike paints and coatings that wear off over time. Even as it ages, concrete continues to reflect a significant amount of light.
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Located at BookstoreAirfield Pavement Design with Concrete Pavers (Canadian Edition) (1994)
Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, #76505, 80 pages
Regular $36.00 (Member $18.00) Transport Canada approved design method for aircraft parking area, taxiways and turning area. Follows Canadian design procedure based on critical aircraft loads and the McLeod method.
Located at BookstoreAirfield Pavement Design with Concrete Pavers (US Edition) (1995)
Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, #76504, 100 pages
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved design method for aircraft parking, taxiways and turning areas. Follows FAA design procedure based on critical aircraft loads. This publication is available for a fee from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute.
Located at BookstoreBackyards & Boulevards (2004)
Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, #75300, 192 pages
Available for $25 members, $29.95 non-member. The endless possibilities for residential, commercial and municipal applications fill this book with over 300 pictures. They demonstrate how paver patterns, colors and textures enliven backyard patios, plazas, shopping centers, recreation facilites and residential and commercial districts. This book is a source for design inspiration for manufacturers, contractors and design professionals. This publication is availbale form the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institue.
Located at BookstoreComplete Business Manual for Concrete Paver Contractors (1998)
Charles Vander Kooi, Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, #75100, 240 pages
Available for $60 member, $100 non-member. A comprehensive guide on estimating, bidding, people and company management and planning. This book has the keys to business success for all sizes of concrete paver contracting companies. This publication is available for a fee from Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institue's bookstore.
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.
Located at BookstorePatios, Driveways, and Plazas (2002)
Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, #75200, 192 pages
Available for $25 member, $29.95 non-member. Concrete pavers are one of the hottest pavements around homes, commercial buildings and urban spaces. Designers know that the selection of pavement patterns and colors have a big influence on the character of these places. In this book, you'll learn the design vocabulary of basic paving patterns and progress to more intricate variations. Each of the 300+ color photos demonstrates how specific patterns, colors and textures enhance every outdoor environment--from the smallest backyard patio to the grandest urban plaza. Some of the best projects from across North America illustrate this book. Written for landscape architects, architects, contractors, and homeowners alike, this is the design handbook for concrete pavers.
Located at BookstorePermeable Interlocking Concrete Pavements (2002)
Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, #76602, 54 pages
Available for $10 member, $20 non-member. A guide for design specification, construction and maintenance of pervious pavement made with concrete pavers. Guides designers on using this best management practice for control of stormwater runoff and nonpoint source water pollution.
Located at BookstorePort and Industrial Pavement Design with Concrete Pavers (1997)
Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, #76506, 101 pages
Available for $18 member, $36 non-member. Second Edition Port pavement design based on finite-element modeling and adapted from the British Ports Association. Sample specifications, examples, and design details for new and overlay design for industrial, bulk and container facilities.
Download DocumentLight Reflective Floors (2002)
Portland Cement Association, #IS529, 2 pages
Available for free. Light reflective floors increase illumination inside buildings. Using white cement concrete to build new floors or top existing ones provides a low-maintenance floor that saves energy and improves the indoor environment.
Download DocumentUnderstanding Pervious Concrete (2005)
Dan Huffman, Construction Specifier Institute, December 2005, 9 pages
Available for free. While pervious concrete pavement has been around for more than 20 years, it has only recently garnered much attention due to increasingly stringent stormwater management guidelines that now position the product as a sustainable building material. Pervious concrete provides the potential for environmentally responsible site use and lowered construction costs in projects ranging from a simple sidewalks, driveways and patios, to major pedestrian plazas and full-blown multi-acre parking lots for national commercial big box builders.
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 SiteEnvironmental and Cost Benefits of High Albedo Concrete
By Erin Ashley, PhD, LEED AP, Director of Codes and Sustainability, NRMCA
Located at External Web SiteInterlocking Concrete Pavement Institute
Association website include design ideas and specifications for numerous applications.
Located at External Web SitePavement - Concrete Parking Website
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
This link takes you to the environmental benefits section of, where you can learn about the range of technology to reduce storm water problems and urban heat island effects.
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.