As the dry heat of Calgary summer descends upon us, finding respite indoors with the A/C blasting isn’t the only solution. Concrete, a widely-used construction material, might not be the first thing that comes to mind when seeking refuge from the sun’s relentless rays, but its remarkable properties can actually help cool outdoor areas.

In this article, we explore how concrete’s thermal mass and reflective features work together to regulate temperatures, reduce heat absorption, and pave the way for cooler and more stylish outdoor spaces with concrete patterns.

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Understanding Concrete Thermal Mass

One of the most significant advantages of concrete in cooling outdoor spaces lies in its thermal mass. 

Thermal mass refers to the ability of a material to store and absorb heat during the day and release it gradually at night. Designs, like having a concrete pattern, results in high thermal mass allows it to act as a heat sink, absorbing the excess heat from the surroundings during the day, and then releasing it slowly as the temperature drops during the cooler evenings.

Thermal mass effect on concrete pattern in outdoor area

By using concrete in outdoor structures, such as patios, walkways, or seating areas, you can create spaces that maintain a more stable temperature throughout the day. This effectively reduces the sharp fluctuations in temperature that are typical of other materials and contributes to a more comfortable outdoor experience.

Did you know?

Thermal mass is a fundamental concept in building design and material science. It refers to the ability of a material to absorb, store, and release heat energy. Materials with high thermal mass can absorb heat when the surrounding temperature is higher than theirs and release it back when the surroundings cool down.

In the context of concrete, it possesses a relatively high thermal mass due to its density and composition. When exposed to sunlight, concrete patterns absorb the heat and store it within its structure. As the temperature drops, the stored heat is gradually released back into the surrounding environment, providing a warming effect during colder periods.

Advantages of Thermal Mass in Outdoor Spaces:

1. Temperature Regulation

As concrete absorbs and releases heat, it helps in maintaining more stable temperatures in outdoor areas. This can be particularly beneficial in regions with significant temperature variations between day and night.

2. Reduced Energy Consumption

Utilizing concrete’s thermal mass strategically can lead to energy savings in both heating and cooling applications. During summer, the need for air conditioning may be reduced as concrete surfaces absorb excess heat and keep outdoor areas cooler.

3. Comfortable Outdoor Spaces

By utilizing concrete with high thermal mass, outdoor spaces become more comfortable for recreational activities, gatherings, and other social events during hot weather conditions.

Leveraging Concrete’s Reflective Properties

concrete's light-colored surface has reflective property

Concrete is known for its light-colored surface, which contributes to its ability to reflect sunlight. This reflective property allows concrete pattern surfaces to bounce back a significant portion of the sun’s rays, reducing the amount of heat absorbed into the material itself. Consequently, concrete surfaces remain cooler than darker materials like asphalt or conventional pavements.

Did you know?


Concrete has the Albedo Effect. The albedo effect refers to a material’s ability to reflect sunlight. Concrete, especially when it has a light color, possesses a high albedo, typically ranging from 0.35 to 0.65, where 0 represents a perfectly absorptive surface and 1 indicates a perfectly reflective surface. This means that concrete can reflect up to 65% of incoming sunlight, depending on its surface characteristics.

By reflecting a significant portion of sunlight, concrete surfaces absorb less heat compared to darker materials like asphalt or traditional pavements, which have lower albedo values. Consequently, the surface temperature of concrete remains cooler, making it more comfortable for people to walk on or use for various outdoor activities.

Cool Pavements: A Smart Choice

concrete pavement is one way to benefit from the reflective properties of concrete

Cool pavements are an excellent application of concrete’s cooling potential. By opting for concrete pavements in outdoor spaces, such as parking lots, pathways, and streets, urban areas can mitigate the “heat island” effect.


This phenomenon occurs when large swaths of dark and heat-absorbing surfaces in cities lead to localized increases in temperature, making urban environments considerably hotter than the surrounding rural areas.


Reducing Heat Island Effect

Cool pavements help counteract this effect by minimizing heat absorption and keeping surface temperatures lower than traditional dark pavements.

Improved Comfort

By deploying cool pavements in outdoor spaces such as sidewalks, parking lots, and streets, municipalities and property owners create more comfortable environments for pedestrians and drivers.

Extending Pavement Lifespan

Cool pavements experience less expansion and contraction due to temperature changes especially with great concrete patterns. This reduced thermal stress can extend the lifespan of pavements, reducing maintenance costs and enhancing their durability.

Enjoy The Cooling Benefits of Concrete

Concrete is much more than just a construction material; it’s a valuable ally in creating cooler and more pleasant outdoor spaces during scorching summer days. From cool pavements to and other elements, outdoor spaces done with TNA Concrete is surely the best summer decision to make.

In need of professional concrete services for your outdoor spaces in Calgary? Look no further than TNA Concrete. Our team of experts is ready to provide the expertise and solutions you need. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today!