Turn Black Into Gold – Scoring LEED Points With Asphalt Work

If you’re a developer, facilities manager, architect and/or project manager seeking LEED certification for your project or anything related to asphalt work, you can help pave your way to Silver, Gold, or Platinum status.

Asphalt paving of roads dates back over two thousand years. This waterproof material sourced from deposits in asphalt “lakes” was later adopted by the ancient Romans to seal baths, aqueducts, and reservoirs.

In 1870, the first true asphalt pavement was rolled out in the U.S. in front of Newark, New Jersey’s city hall. Needless to say, the use of asphalt has stuck. According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, “this dark, resilient material covers more than 94 percent of the paved roads in the United States”. It’s also the surface of choice for parking lot paving, airport tarmacs, bike trails, rail yards and more.

asphalt work

But, what is old, and what is new about this surface? And, how can it help you in LEED certification?

Some asphalt today is extracted from natural deposits, but most modern asphalt is manufactured from crude petroleum. It’s the viscous adhesive that remains after the more volatile fractions, like gasoline, have been distilled off.

What else is new?

Asphalt has become the most recycled material in the U.S. (exceeding glass and paper). Almost 100% of the nearly 80 million tons of it reclaimed yearly makes its way into RAP (Recycled Asphalt Pavement). This benefits the environment in multiple ways and can contribute to your ability to earn LEED points for the use of asphalt in projects. Old asphalt milled from paved surfaces is crushed and heated along with new material to create paving mix. (Texas Materials uses up to 20% recycled content in our asphalt work).

Raising the Score

Asphalt can earn credits in three of LEED’s six categories: Materials and Resources (MR), Sustainable Sites (SS), and Innovation and Design Process (ID).

MR credits

MR credits can be earned through the use of materials diverted from landfills and incinerators (materials like RAP). Depending on the application, additional recycled materials such as shingles, rubber, glass, and foundry sand are sometimes added to the asphalt mix. (1 credit may be earned for using up to a minimum of 15% reclaimed materials with another credit possible for exceeding 20%). Additional points are available for materials extracted, processed and produced within 100 miles of your worksite which may be possible with asphalt.

SS credits

SS credits may be claimed for asphalt that is porous. This type of pavement is used primarily for parking lots and allows water to drain through the pavement into a stone bed and infiltrate into the soils below the pavement. The effect is decreased runoff (1 credit), and (1 additional credit) for decreasing water pollution by absorbing contaminants rather than allowing them to reach waterways like rivers and streams. Existing dense-graded pavement may be covered with a porous surface to earn credit. Points are also available for light-colored asphalt (and other heat-reflective) surfaces.

ID credits

ID credits are available for warm-mix asphalt that uses less embodied energy in its production and/or high-RAP content surfaces.

LEED is the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. It is global in scope and has been adopted by 135 countries worldwide and employs the following scoring system.

  •      Certified (40–49 points)
  •      Silver (50–59 points)
  •      Gold (60–79 points)
  •      Platinum (80+ points)

Always consult the USGBC’s most recent LEED guidelines along with the appropriate construction professionals when seeking certification for your project.

Contact us when your job calls for paving, asphalt work, or sealcoating within the greater Austin, Waco-Belton-Temple-Killeen, and San Antonio areas. We tackle projects of every size. In addition to tackling new projects, Texas Materials offers everything you need to get your pavement at its peak performance and appearance.

Fill out a contact form and get your project on the move.

Fill out a contact form and get your project on the move.