Why Asphalt is the Eco-Friendly Choice
Why Asphalt is the Eco-Friendly Choice: Are you committed to supporting sustainability and environmentally friendly methods of paving? Choose asphalt! Throughout the life cycle of asphalt, from production to installation and beyond, asphalt reduces environmental impact — and that’s a good thing, especially for your business reputation.
On average, asphalt requires about 20% less energy during production and construction than other types of pavement. Additionally, asphalt is smooth and flexible, which reduces the resistance from vehicle tires and ultimately improves fuel efficiency. Lower consumption means fewer emissions and less impact on the environment.
Along with the lower energy consumption needed to install asphalt, older asphalt pavement can be reused or recycled up to 99% of the time; this totals about 100 million tons of asphalt produced annually and 95 million tons recycled during the same time. Other materials are routinely recycled into asphalt pavement, with some of the most common being rubber from used tires, glass, and asphalt roofing shingles.
Considered a “perpetual pavement,” well-designed and installed asphalt doesn’t ever need to be fully replaced and shouldn’t wear out. When cracks or damage occur maintenance includes simply removing and replacing the top layer and that material is recycled or reused. This makes asphalt a truly sustainable construction method.
Older, damaged concrete pavement can be removed to make way for new asphalt pavement through a process called “rubblization.” The concrete is fractured to create a textured base that can hold a more sustainable asphalt surface, making perpetual pavement out of something that once required more energy consumption for installation and repair.
Increased water quality
In nature, water that falls on soil filters through the ground and into water sources like lakes, streams, ponds, and underground aquifers. Other constructed surfaces (like concrete) can seal off the rain from the ground and cause runoff which contributes to flooding. Contaminants can collect in this runoff and leach into waterways, contributing to pollution.
Water quality benefits of asphalt include:
- Water conservation
- Better use of land
- Reduced runoff
- Better infiltration
- Cleaner stormwater
- Replenished aquifers
- Protected streams
Did you know? Asphalt is used to construct liners and caps for landfills because the impermeable material can provide an effective barrier to potential leaks. Even drinking water reservoirs are often lined with asphalt, and asphalt cement is used to line water pipes that supply potable water to humans.
Cleaner air and cities
Darker asphalt pavement absorbs heat in larger cities with taller buildings, which can reduce the overall temperature and urban island heat effect, whereas lighter pavement can reflect onto these buildings. Asphalt can quickly be installed, reducing bottlenecking and idle time along with vehicle emissions.
Asphalt plants have been decreasing greenhouse gases while increasing production. Because of this, the Environmental Protection Agency categorizes these plants as only minor sources of industrial pollution — a major win for the environment and the air we breathe.
Green construction and LEED certifications
The right pavement selection for your construction project can help it get LEED certification, which is the stamp of approval for deciding when projects are green and eco-friendly. Choosing asphalt over other materials can offer these LEED benefits:
- Porous asphalt systems offer better stormwater management.
- Light-colored asphalt helps reduce urban heat island effect.
- The ability to recycle asphalt pavement make asphalt eligible for credits.
- The fact that asphalt pavement material is produced locally can earn credits.
- Warm-mix asphalt offers several sustainability advantages.
Less impactful maintenance
Because of the longevity of asphalt pavement, fewer tools and vehicles will be needed to repair it, and it should never need to be fully replaced. This means heavy trucks won’t be clogging the roads or parking lots surrounding your business, having a negative impact on air quality.
Well-maintained and smoother asphalt pavement provides safer and quieter riding surfaces over their lifespan. This results in higher vehicle fuel efficiencies, reduced crash rates, and lower noise impacts on surrounding communities, which contributes to their overall sustainability.
Whether you’re looking to snag LEED credits for your construction project or just want to choose a more sustainable material for your paving needs, asphalt is the eco-friendly choice. Reuse, reduce, and recycle your asphalt — reduce waste, reuse both pour materials and old asphalt, and recycle old asphalt into new projects.
Leritz and Busy Bee specialize in asphalt paving, repair and maintenance in the St. Louis metropolitan area, and have extensive experience serving:
- Commercial Property Owners and Building Managers
- Contractors and Developers
- Industrial Facility Owners and Managers
- Institutions (Schools, Hospitals, Churches)
- Recreational Facilities
- Private Communities, Boards of Trustees
We understand that the needs and schedules of each of these markets is unique, so we tailor our process and solution to meet those needs and complete a paving job done right — get in touch today!