Our office was invited to tour the Tennessee Concrete Association’s (TCA) new headquarters in Nashville. The focus of the tour was to learn more about their experience with pervious concrete. They had a few examples of pervious concrete pours on site, and I thought the one in the photograph above was particularly interesting. TCA is experimenting with mixes to increase the Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) value of pervious concrete. Mix A in the left side of the photograph is a pervious concrete mix that replaces 20% of the required cementitious content with fly ash. Mix B to the right has replaced 50% of the required cementitious content with slag. Both substitutes are by-products of industrial process. Fly ash is from the process of burning coal for energy and slag is from the production of both iron and steel.
As you can see there is a noticeable difference in the color between the two samples. The slag sample is much lighter in color. We were told it was difficult to determine the SRI of pervious concrete due to the voids. As a result, TCA could not definitively tell us the SRI value. They are interested in finding someone to perform more testing.
In regard to cost, TCA stated the slag is readily available in Tennessee but not all producers carry it. Fly Ash is the less expensive option compared with cement and slag, but slag is typically less expensive than cement (especially white cement)
It does appear the slag mix provides a great option to improve solar reflectance. I hope more data will be available in the near future that supports this.