March 2014 marked half a decade since Citywide introduced its groundbreaking low emission ‘warm’ asphalt, Greenpave, into the Australian market.
Over the past five years, the market has changed considerably, with sustainability goals becoming institutionalised in various forms at each level of government and in many private sector firms.
However, in an increasingly conservative climate, cost reduction has strengthened as the priority factor in purchasing decisions. Under financial pressure, many Australian councils are struggling to achieve their own mandated environmental goals. The question of what price to pay for achieving environmental sustainability has long been debated across meeting rooms as sustainability officers face contract managers over ratepayer value.
As it so often does in the sustainable technology space, the economics have overtaken the ideology and the debate. Economies of scale and strong support from progressive councils have seen the price of Greenpave come down to parity with conventional high emission asphalt. The price per tonne is now only $3 more than conventional standard high emission, hot mix asphalt. That’s a cup of coffee from your local deli.
Pricing was the last barrier to wholesale adoption of Greenpave.
Multi-year trials have been conducted on major arterials and city streets – by municipal governments and the Victorian state road authority, VicRoads - with technical performance equal to standard hot-mix. Low emission asphalt has stood up to heavy traffic, drought and storm conditions.
Emissions reductions have also been tested, delivering on design specifications. Lower production temperatures of 130 versus 170 degrees Celsius result in 30% less energy consumption and 30% less emissions when compared with standard hot mix asphalt.
Although action on climate change is facing significant roadblocks at a federal level, at the state and local community level emissions reduction is still very much on the agenda. It is estimated over 1 million Australian households have installed solar panels on their rooves, waste recycling levels are high, and bicycles are now competing with cars for road space. Our cars are twice as efficient as they were a decade ago.
With 30% emissions reductions immediately achievable, roads are a logical next target. There are approximately 151,000 kilometres of roads open for general traffic in Victoria. A combination of Greenpave and recycled asphalt product, or RAP, takes the environmental impact even further. Recycling asphalt reduces the volume of raw materials needed in the manufacturing process, meaning fewer emissions produced in the supply chain from the mining process onwards. The recycling of asphalt from also means less waste to landfill and avoiding associated gate fees.
Acknowledging the company’s customers, Citywide Managing Director, Kerry Osborne, attributes the successful establishment of Greenpave to local councils progressively replacing high emission asphalt.
“The leadership and initiative taken by a number of Victorian local governments has been instrumental in changing the market,” said Mr Osborne.
“This has been a shared journey. We needed to get Greenpave on the ground in order to prove its durability and environmental benefits. That means partnering with local councils for whom environmental sustainability is a priority,” Mr Osborne added.
10 local councils have used a total of more than 41,000 tonnes of Greenpave across their municipalities. This is the equivalent of 450 cubic tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions saved.
The City of Melbourne’s Greenpave acquisitions alone have accounted for nearly a quarter of all green asphalt related emissions savings in Victoria.
“The City of Melbourne is committed to being a world leader in sustainability by being smarter at everything we do, right down to street level and the asphalt we choose to pave our roads,” said Councillor Arron Wood, Chair of the Environment Portfolio at Melbourne City Council.
“A large part of our environmental footprint comes from the work we do on our roads and bitumen. Every tonne of Greenpave we lay in the City of Melbourne saves about 220 black balloons of greenhouse gas emissions. When you consider that in the past five years we have laid more than 15,500 tonnes of Greenpave across the municipality, the benefits quickly add up,” he added.
During March and April, Citywide celebrated Greenpave’s five-year milestone with the councils and communities that have benefit from greener roads. Personnel working in local governments using Greenpave received a thank-you letter, putting their commitment to the environment in perspective.
Local residents living on ‘green streets’ also received a celebratory letter and stickers so local communities could take pride in the local contribution to emissions reduction, and help build momentum for a shift to low emission asphalt. The letters highlighted the leadership role of their local council.
Low emission and recycled asphalt offers the very real prospect that Victoria may be able to enjoy greener, zero emission carbon neutral roads by the turn of the decade, and provides local government with a better chance of achieving 2020 emissions reduction targets.
Learn more about our commitment to the innovation and our asphalt production capabilities. Speak to the team today.