NAPA Survey Shows Sustainability Gains for Asphalt Pavement

A November 17, 2015, Sustainable Cities Network article summarized the results of a recent survey conducted by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) on the increased sustainability of asphalt pavement through the use of recycled materials and energy-saving warm-mix asphalt technologies. The survey was conducted in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration.

The survey article discussed the increased use of recycled materials in in asphalt pavement, including reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) from existing roads and parking lots and recycled asphalt roofing shingles (RAS).

“Asphalt pavements are inherently sustainable, because when we pave a road, we are putting in place material that can later be harvested for reuse in new pavements,” stated Michael Cote, 2015 NAPA Chairman and Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer for The Lane Construction Corp… “Well over 99 percent of material removed during maintenance or repair activities ends up being put back to use in new pavements.”

The tons of asphalt pavement mixtures produced using recycled and reclaimed materials saw more than a 6 percent increase from 2013 to 2014, which is a significantly greater increase than the increase in total tons of asphalt mixture produced during the same time period.

The survey found that nearly 72 million tons of [RAP] and 1.9 million tons of [RAS] were used in new asphalt pavement mixes in the United States during 2014. An additional 9 million tons of RAP were used as aggregate, cold mix, and other road-building activities. Reclaiming and reusing the asphalt cement and aggregate in RAP and RAS saved about $2.8 billion in 2014 compared to the use of virgin asphalt binder and aggregates.

The article also summarized the survey’s findings on the rapid adoption of warm-mix asphalt technologies, which reduce the production and placement temperature of asphalt mixtures and can result in energy savings and other benefits.

In 2014, 113.8 million tons of warm-mix asphalt was produced, about a third of all asphalt pavement mix production. This marks a greater than 577 percent increase in the use of warm mix since 2009, the first year the survey was conducted. …

“In 15 states, more than half of all asphalt pavement mixtures were produced as warm-mix asphalt, and in six of them, more than 75 percent was produced as warm mix. This is an incredible rate of adoption for a technology introduced just a decade ago,” said NAPA President Mike Acott. “We are already seeing construction and performance benefits, as well as energy savings, with warm-mix asphalt.”

NAPA 2015 Asphalt Survey