In an era where more American companies are actively pursuing environmentally-friendly certifications, the average consumer is willing to invest in recycled or “green” building materials. There is one market that is actively recycling its materials: concrete repair contractors routinely recycle asphalt driveway and road materials. Surprisingly, studies show that “reclaimed asphalt pavement” is stronger than new asphalt and more cost effective. Across the country, the use of recycled asphalt for road and driveway repairs saves cities more than $2 billion every year.
Typically, the road to a new road begins with a contractor doing an onsite inspection. Cracked asphalt can often be repaired without the need to fully replace sunken driveways or small roads on private property: contractors need to discuss new projects with homeowners in advance of any driveway repairs. If the homeowners are looking for concrete repairs or replacement, they should be advised that concrete is currently available in over 250 colors.
What other repairs should I contract for? Often, driveway contractors can refer homeowners to colleagues for metal roofing and solar panel installation. Metal roofing shingles are becoming increasingly popular with home-based business owners and owners of historical properties. Metal roofs can act in tandem with solar panels to reduce annual heating and air conditioning bills; business owners also consistently report that installing metal roofs — along with new gutters — allows them to avoid cracks in their new asphalt driveways.
So much of home and business ownership revolves around regular maintenance and inspection: new driveways that are laid with reclaimed asphalt can withstand decades of use. Across America, asphalt driveway and road contractors lay a staggering 350 million tons of asphalt every single year. The entire asphalt recycling market is double the size of all the paper, plastic, and metal recycling operations in the country put together, and consumers are starting to realize the potential of asphalt as a recyclable material.
One of the most encouraging developments in the asphalt market over the last few decades is the fact that the industry as a whole has minimized its emissions. In fact, recycled asphalt emits steam when it is heated and re-mixed, but barely any harmful chemicals. Asphalt itself actually comes from a mixture of rock and sand mixed with some gravel and what is called “asphalt oil” as a binder. The entire mixture is heated to about 300 degrees, and the resulting asphalt mixture is spreadable into cracks as narrow as a pencil eraser. The asphalt industry is on the verge of certification for green manufacturing processes, a stringent certification that only about six businesses in America currently maintain.
Before the installation of a new asphalt driveway — made with reclaimed asphalt, naturally — a home or business owner may need to have new gravel laid down and the road graded in advance of a “top coat” of asphalt. Connecting with driveway repair and road installation experts is key: increasingly, contractors are partnering with architects for custom and luxury builds. Design/build firms can consult with homeowners to narrow down options for new roadways and parking; business owners may need to coordinate its repair and installation schedules with customers, so booking consultations well in advance is recommended.
Thankfully, consumer demand for ecologically-friendly building and paving materials has made change possible; new solar panel design dovetails remarkably well with new metal roofing shingles and panels. The production of asphalt has changed drastically since the late 1970s, when solar panels and “green” paving materials were still new, relatively untested ideas. Working to minimize emissions and to reduce your business’s carbon footprint? You might want to schedule a consultation with an asphalt driveway contractor and start to discuss eco-friendly options for design and build projects.
Businesses rely upon their customers’ confidence, and the American asphalt industry is working hard to inspire innovation and customer loyalty. As American consumers continue to “vote with their dollars,” the marketplace for high-quality recycled materials will remain incredibly strong and vibrant.