White paper: ‘Carbon Footprint: How Does Asphalt Stack Up?’

A new white paper from the Asphalt Pavement Alliance — Carbon Footprint: How Does Asphalt Stack Up? — addresses how business and government agencies can measure “greennes” of a pavement.

The white is available as a free download from the APA’s Web site at www.AsphaltRoads.org.

“When determining the carbon footprint of anything, it’s important to count everything, and to make sure you don’t count anything twice,” says Dr. Howard Marks of the National Asphalt Pavement Association (APA), an author of the report. “The new white paper analyzes both asphalt and concrete pavements using a variety of accepted methodologies. Both initial construction and a 50-year life-cycle were analyzed. In all cases, the carbon footprints of the asphalt pavements were found to be less than 30 percent of equivalent Portland cement concrete pavements.

“One analysis in the white paper compared conventional asphalt pavement to a perpetual pavement,” Marks continues. “Although the carbon footprint of the initial construction of a perpetual pavement is slightly higher than that associated with conventional asphalt pavement, the perpetual pavement had a lower 50-year lifetime carbon footprint than the conventional pavement. Another way of saying that is that not only do conventional asphalt pavements have a lower life-cycle carbon footprint compared to concrete pavements, but a perpetual asphalt pavement – one that is designed for longer life – has a carbon footprint that’s even lower.”