Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How Green Was My Alley?

Pretty green, if you live in Chicago near one of its new "green" alleys, according to a New York Times article on the greening of Chicago (excerpted below):
In a green alley, water is allowed to penetrate the soil through the pavement itself, which consists of the relatively new but little-used technology of permeable concrete or porous asphalt. Then the water, filtered through stone beds under the permeable surface layer, recharges the underground water table instead of ending up as polluted runoff in rivers and streams.
Some of that water may even end up back in Lake Michigan, from which Chicago takes a billion gallons a year.
“The question is, if you’ve got to resurface an alley anyway, can you make it do more for you?” said Janet Attarian, the project’s director.
The new pavements are also designed to reflect heat from the sun instead of absorbing it, helping the city stay cool on hot days. They also stay warmer on cold days. The green alleys are given new kinds of lighting that conserve energy and reduce glare, city officials said, and are made with recycled materials.

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