APA releases white paper on carbon footprint

Both businesses and government agencies strive to make their practices and policies more environmentally sustainable.

But how do you measure the greenness of a pavement? A new white paper from the Asphalt Pavement Alliance, Carbon Footprint: How Does Asphalt Stack Up? answers that question in a straightforward and even-handed way. The publication is available as a free download by clicking here.

"When determining the carbon footprint of anything, it’s important to count everything, and to make sure you don’t count anything twice," said Dr. Howard Marks of the National Asphalt Pavement Association, a co-chair of the team that created the document. "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 continued. "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."

The Asphalt Pavement Alliance is a coalition of the National Asphalt Pavement Association, the Asphalt Institute, and the State Asphalt Pavement Associations. The Alliance's mission is to further the use and quality of asphalt pavements. The Alliance will accomplish this through research, technology transfer, engineering, education, and innovation.