Infoscience

Conference paper

Standardization of the environmental information for asphalt technologies

Increasing attention being paid to the environmental impact of construction activities has led to the adoption of Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for the purpose of producing standardized assessments. Facilitating the comparison of the environmental performance of construction products, EPDs represent an excellent tool for the decision making process. The development of EPDs for building construction products is based on Product Category Rules (PCRs), which define a wide set of environmental indicators relevant for the whole sector. Because of the large range of products covered by the PCRs, the resulting EPDs appear to be mainly addressed to generic products without considering individual material's specific characteristics. The highway industry in particular necessitates the use of specifically customized sets of rules to encourage and improve the environmental performance of the products. It is a prerogative of the national road administrations (NRAs) to favor the introduction of green solutions. This can be facilitated by adopting appropriate rules for sustainability assessment. While on one side, some of the recommended PCRs for construction products, such as ozone depletion potential and formation potential of tropospheric ozone, have little relevance for asphalt technologies, on the other side they do not fully embrace the specific necessities of the NRAs. An appropriate tool to inform the decision making process of the NRAs should not be limited to environmental criteria but should include an indication of the social and economic impact of the asphalt, all considered from a life cycle perspective. Until now, PCRs with potential relevance to asphalt technologies have been autonomously introduced in few countries, but do not fully satisfy the scope being limited to the production stage. With the purpose of developing a methodology for the assessment of the overall sustainability of bituminous mixtures produced with novel materials and technologies the Evaluation and Decision Process for Greener Asphalt Roads (EDGAR) project started by creating a reduced set of rules specifically designed for asphalt materials and directly relevant to NRAs. Both environmental and socio-economic indicators are considered from a life cycle perspective to describe the impact of innovative asphalt materials on sustainability. A methodology will be proposed for NRAs to determine these indicators, using either existing or new tools, and to implement them in the decision making process. In the final stage of the two year project, which will end in April 2016, the EDGAR methodology will be demonstrated through application in practical test cases. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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