Asphalt for Clean Air and Cool Cities

Did you know that asphalt has a lot of ‘street cred’ when it comes to clean air and the environment, such as through helping to cool cities dealing with the urban heat island (UHI) effect? The asphalt industry has committed to effecting positive change when it comes to the environment, and it has been honoring that commitment for nearly 50 years. Explore all the ways the asphalt industry is working to have a positive impact on the environment.

The Asphalt Industry’s Commitment to Clean Air and Cool Cities

The National Asphalt Pavement Association shared all the ways that the asphalt industry has worked to operate with an environmental mindset. Asphalt’s track record includes:

  • Lowering total emission from asphalt plants by 97% since 1970 while also increasing production by an astounding 250%. To put it into perspective, these emissions are so low the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates asphalt plants as being “only a minor source of industrial pollution.”
  • A 2005 study by the American Society of Civil Engineers found that “asphalt pavements require about 20 percent less energy to produce and construct than other pavements.”
  • A 2003 study in Phoenix, Arizona showed that porous asphalt lowers the nighttime temperatures of surfaces, as opposed to impervious concrete. This counteracts the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, which is where cities and other pavement-heavy spaces are much warmer than their closest rural counterparts.
  • Laying asphalt is a relatively quick process, meaning new roadways and other road construction projects can be completed at a fast rate. This cuts down on congestion and traffic jams, and it reduces emission levels from cars idling in traffic.
  • A 2000 study by the Federal Highway Administration found that vehicles driving on smooth roads—such as those quickly mended by asphalt—consumed 4.5% less fuel than vehicles driving on rough pavement. This saves fuel and cuts down on the amount of emissions coming from vehicles.

Asphalt offers an environmentally friendly pavement option that suites a wide-array of construction projects for both clean air and cool cities. We are proud to work with asphalt, the sustainable pavement.