Asphalt is the most common pavement material used widely in urban construction, smooth motorways and highways and parking lots for residential and commercial projects.
Since asphalt is a petroleum product, some people may doubt it is not environmentally friendly. However, that is not the case.
Using asphalt to pave roads, streets, driveways and parking lots minimizes the environmental impact. Below are some reasons why asphalt is an eco-friendly choice for pavement.
Asphalt is Heavily Recycled
Asphalt is one of the most recycled products. With simple reheating, almost 100% of asphalt can be recovered and reused for pavement. In fact, 90% of asphalt recovered from old roads is used again in constructing new roads.
The process of recycling asphalt also gets rid of many other waste materials that may have otherwise polluted the environment. Used glass, tires, asphalt roofing shingles, and blast furnace slag are all utilized in recycling asphalt.
In short, recycling asphalt reduces the use of landfill sites – a significant win for the environment.
Production of Asphalt Releases Less Greenhouse Gases
Industrial production of asphalt needs less energy compared to other paving materials. Similarly, asphalt production produces less waste material and emits fewer greenhouse gases when compared with other pavement materials.
Asphalt binder is one of the raw materials in the production of asphalt. It is a by-product of fossil fuels, meaning that carbon in asphalt remains stored in the binder and never gets released into the environment. Thus, the release of CO2 in the atmosphere is reduced.
It Reduces the Urban Heat Island Effect
A heat island is an urban settlement that is noticeably warmer compared to surrounding rural areas due to human activities in the urban areas. The temperature difference between rural and urban areas can be massive at night during summer and winter.
But how is it connected to asphalt?
Studies have shown that porous asphalt pavement can help to reduce the city temperature at night compared with other pavement materials.
Porous Asphalt Does Not Disturb the Water Cycle
If a road surface is hard-paved, the water does not run off to the sewerage system. Water stays on the top of the road surface and may also collect toxic chemicals as time passes.
Porous asphalt paving, on the other hand, is long-lasting and also allows water to flow from the top of the road surface to the sewerage system.
Warm Mix Asphalt Further Reduces Energy Consumption
Various technologies are used to produce warm mix asphalt (WMA), which further reduces the energy consumption in the production of asphalt. WMA is produced at a temperature of about 30F to 120F, which is lower than traditional hot-mix asphalt. Since less heating is required in the production of WMA, less fuel is used in the production process.
For example, If WMA is fully implemented across the US only; the country can save up to 150 million gallons of oil annually. Saving this oil is equivalent to 210,000 cars not releasing CO2 into the air for one whole year.
Local Raw Materials Are Used
Locally produced asphalt is more environmentally friendly. When local raw materials are utilized in production, companies do not have to travel far to deliver products to the market.
The same is the case with asphalt.
If customers use locally produced asphalt for pavement, it saves both time and fuel for asphalt to be delivered to the customers. Therefore, fewer fossil fuels are used by transportation trucks, and fewer fumes are emitted into the environment.
Perpetual Asphalt Pavement
Another eco-friendly option for asphalt pavement is perpetual pavement. In perpetual pavement, the pavement comprises many layers of asphalt, most of which are recycled.
Perpetual pavements are cost-effective, eco-friendly, produce less waste, and can last for as long as 20 years. This durability also reduces the expenses of repair work.
It Helps Save Money on Fuel
We all love a smooth drive down an exceptionally well-paved road. A smooth car drive is not only comfortable but also a green option for the environment.
Studies have proved that a car’s average fuel consumption improves if it is driven on smooth roads and highways. In simple words, if a road is smooth, the car uses less fuel. This is a major environmental benefit. If less fuel is used, our natural resources stay conserved, also reducing vehicle emissions.
By reducing fuel consumption, asphalt paves the way for a cleaner, greener future for everyone!