The Second Annual National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) Sustainability conference was held in Portland Oregon and a summary is given herein.
At this conference, industry and agency came together with three themes in mind:
- Building on Sustainability
- Sustainability in Practice for the Asphalt Industry
- Measuring the Sustainability of Asphalt
The sustainability conference kicked off with a presentation from Michael Cote with Lane Construction and 2015 NAPA Chairman. Mr. Cote’s presentation started with defining sustainability as using current resources without compromising the needs of future generations through social, environmental and economic factors. He then discussed a few facts regarding asphalt pavements, specifically how asphalt recycling saves 21 million barrels of oil per year and the use of warm mix asphalt throughout the nation. Mr. Cote discussed that a company needs to consider the long term goals and how that relates to sustainability.
Building on sustainability
The first of three themes at the conference was building on sustainability. Gina Ahlstom with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) presented on their Sustainable Pavements Program and how it can be applied. A growing trend amongst the public is the demand for sustainable practices. Some considerations that were mentioned are sustainability:
- from conception to completion,
- through maintenance and operation,
- satisfying life-cycle functional requirements, and
- improving the natural, built and social environment
Technical guidance from the FHWA on sustainability can be found here. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/sustainability/
The next presentations were related to what producers can do in terms of sustainability. Adam Hand P.E., PhD, with Granite Constriction Inc. presented on building business through green construction. Some quotes that were mentioned from a CEO survey relating to sustainability:
- Sustainability is important to the success of their business
- It is the source of competitive advantage and innovation
- Important to measure and try and reduce their environmental footprint
- Satisfying societal needs and protecting the interests of future generations is important
- Measuring and reporting their total (non-financial) impacts contributes to their long term success
The presentation also included some of the tools available for sustainability such as the Greenroads Rating System and the history for how Granite Construction established their sustainability plan. The seven pillars they used are: Employees, Infrastructure Investment, Health & Safety, Compliance & Ethics, Environment (meeting responsibilities), Environment-Green Construction (using all possible technology), Quality, and Community Involvement.
A representative from Greenroads International presented on case studies that were used with their system. The final presentation was from Brandon Brever, MAPA. Brandon presented for MnDOT regarding the MnROAD-NCAT partnership.
Sustainability in Practice for the Asphalt Industry
The second day of the conference consisted of two themes: Sustainability in Practice for the Asphalt Industry and Measuring the Sustainability of Asphalt. The first theme included presentations on plant operation, maximizing the benefit of recycled materials, porous asphalt as a sustainable practice, adding life to pavements and using tires to make asphalt roads.
Ron Sines, P.E. with Oldcastle Materials presented on plant operation innovations for sustainability. Ron discussed environmental product declarations (EPD’s) and how they can be used to measure sustainability, including:
- Help industry make better more informed decisions about material selection and plant operation
- Allow producers to differentiate themselves in the market place
- Use as a new marketing tool
- Begin the discussion on areas for needed innovation or capital improvement
- Begin policy or specification discussions with owners
Another great tool is NAPA’s greenhouse gas calculator that can be used to calculate emissions for asphalt production, see the following web site: https://www.asphaltpavement.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=545&Itemid=114
Some of the technologies discussed are potentially meant for the future, but what can be done by industry today?
- Conduct an energy audit
- Install variable frequency drives
- Track greenhouse gas emissions
- Maximize the use of recycled materials
- Use warm-mix technologies to reduce production temperatures
- Implement no-idling rules for equipment and plant
More information is available at https://store.asphaltpavement.org/index.php?productID=553
Brian Wood, P.E. with the Plantmix Asphalt Industry of Kentucky presented on the NAPA Japan trip where they visited several asphalt plants that typically use high RAP materials. Due to the environmental regulations in Japan, and population density, the production was done at a slower rate with batch plants. Japan uses around 45% RAP with rejuvenators and performance-based specifications. The projects were typically smaller with high unit costs and done at a high quality. Aggregate materials were covered to reduce the moisture percentage (1.5 – 2.0%). RAP was fractionated in an indoor processing facility. Below are some photos of their trip.
Measuring the Sustainability of Asphalt
The final theme was Measuring the Sustainability of Asphalt. Presentations included: Tracing Sustainability Back to the Source – Intro to LCA/EPDs, Defining the Boundaries for Environmental Performance, Assessing Industry’s Environmental Impacts, Making EPDs Work for You, and Experience Sustainable Pavements: The Use Phase.
Some takeaways from this theme was that supplying EPDs to owners will:
- meet and exceed the expectations from the customers,
- improve environmental performance by demonstrating compliance and improving plant efficiency through conserving energy and raw materials, and
- improve the bottom line.
Any questions about the conference can be sent to Brandon Brever at email@example.com