Can Asphalt Paving Be Good For The Environment?

April 20, 2023

Can Asphalt Paving Be Good For The Environment?

Asphalt is a mixture of aggregates, like sand, gravel and crushed rock, that are held together by a binder derived from petroleum. It is used to pave roads and highways. When it is heated during paving, the mix emits greenhouse gases and air pollutants. Fortunately, asphalt producers have made great strides to reduce their environmental impact.

Carbon Dioxide

Asphalt pavement is a very efficient way to keep traffic moving smoothly in cities, but it can also be a problem. Unlike other types of roadways, it emits heat, which can warm up the air around it and create a dangerous condition known as the urban heat island effect. But there is a way to reduce the carbon emissions that come from pavement construction: by using recycled products in the mix. Reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) is an excellent example of a sustainable solution that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces waste over the lifecycle of the road surface.

Water Pollution

Water pollution refers to the contamination of water with chemicals, pollutants, or other substances that are harmful to human health or the environment. Often, pollution is the result of industrial wastes, but it can also be caused by natural disasters or individual human habits. Fortunately, many roads are now paved with porous materials that allow rainwater to drain through the surface into the ground below, rather than flowing onto the pavement and eroding it. Additionally, the use of recycled asphalt products in the production of paving materials helps to conserve valuable aggregate resources. These resources are hard to come by in the construction industry, so the use of reclaimed materials is extremely beneficial for the environment!

Noise Pollution

Road noise is a significant issue worldwide, and asphalt pavement can help reduce the impact of traffic on nearby communities. This can help improve the quality of life for drivers and their passengers, while also saving the environment. One of the most obvious ways that asphalt reduces highway noise is by absorbing vibrations caused by vehicle tires. This reduces sound levels by three to five decibels (equivalent to hearing the road from two football fields away). Another method for reducing highway noise is to use porous asphalt pavements that absorb noise. This is achieved by creating air voids that absorb sound waves through a process called Helmholtz resonance. Moreover, porous asphalt pavements are environmentally friendly since they use recycled tires as an important part of the asphalt mix. This means that they save the environment by avoiding the landfilling of millions of tires.

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