When it comes to paving a new parking lot, there are three things you should consider before tearing up your old lot and starting fresh. The first is that it’s going to be costlier than you think, the second is that there are environmental factors to think about, and the third is that there may be a more sustainable option for you. There is no doubt about it, a new parking lot is a huge investment for any commercial business, which is why, here at DCPLM, we want to share our knowledge with you so that you can make the best and most informed decision possible for your business' pavement needs. Let’s jump into the 3 things you need to know before committing to paving a new parking lot.
1. Paving a New Asphalt Parking Lot Is Costlier Than You Think.
One of the biggest things that commercial businesses tend to underestimate is just how costly a new, freshly paved parking lot is going to be. The initial investment is only a small fraction of the actual cost of ownership for a parking lot. Factors such as ongoing maintenance, repairs, and eventual resurfacing or replacement must be considered when budgeting for a new parking lot. The good news here is that with proper care and maintenance, a parking lot can last anywhere from 15-20 years.
The reason why asphalt is the most popular material choice for parking lots is because it is less expensive than concrete, and it can be installed rather quickly. However, to ensure that your asphalt parking lot is durable and long-lasting, you need an expert paving company to lay down the groundwork successfully. This includes running base preparation, and ensuring that stormwater storage, drainage, and filtering is carefully considered. And, even when this is done correctly, you will still have to budget for potholes, cracking, faded lot lines, and standing water damage.
2. Paving a Parking Lot Has Some Impact on the Environment.
When it comes to the environmental impact of asphalt paving, there is quite a bit of misinformation about asphalt production, products, and environmental impact. If you were to install a new asphalt parking lot with “regular asphalt” instead of porous-asphalt, warm-cold mixed asphalt, cold recycled asphalt, perpetual pavement, or permeable pavers, then this would harm the environment.
Regular asphalt is classified as an “impervious surface” which means that water cannot seep through it and into the ground. So, when it rains, the water falls onto the parking lot pavement, runs off of it, and collects any pollutants found on its surface like gas, oil, or chemicals from automobiles. This water run-off is then directed into the storm drains, leading to possible contamination of water supplies, lakes, and riverbeds.
When talking about the production of asphalt, mixing plants are highly regulated by environmental agencies that have emission control systems in place. And, while petroleum-based asphalt is a highly volatile organic compound substance that when converted into asphalt, does release harmful gasses into the atmosphere, the total emissions from asphalt are considered minor sources of industrial pollution as their emissions have been cut by 97% with the introduction of asphalt recycling.
3. Paving Technology Has Evolved With More Sustainable Options Available.
The third and final thing that you need to know before paving a new parking lot is that there are sustainable options available. Asphalt is made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource, and concrete is made from cement, which has a large carbon footprint. However, there are alternative paving materials on the market that are made from recycled materials that have a much smaller environmental impact. Here are some examples:
- Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement (PICP). PICP is made from concrete, but has voids in between the pavers that allow water to seep through. This helps to reduce stormwater runoff and the potential for flooding and erosion. PICP is also made from recycled materials, which helps to reduce the environmental impact even further.
- Perpetual Pavement. Perpetual pavement is a type of asphalt pavement that is designed to last indefinitely with little to no maintenance. It is made with multiple layers of asphalt, with many of the layers being recycled materials, while the top layer is made with a high-performance mix that is designed to resist cracking and potholes. Perpetual pavement produces less waste, has lower maintenance, and is durable.
- Asphalt Cold Recycling. Asphalt cold recycling is a process where old asphalt pavement is removed and replaced with new asphalt mix. This new mix can be made from 100% recycled materials, making it a sustainable option for paving. Asphalt cold recycling is also less expensive and produces less waste than traditional methods of asphalt pavement construction.
- Warm & Cold Mixed Asphalt. Warm & cold mixed asphalt is less damaging to the environment as it uses lower temperatures during the mixing process. As a result, the consumption of fuel, and greenhouse gasses produced during installation are cut down drastically when compared to more traditional methods. It can also be made with 100% recycled materials, and allows for better compaction on the road, making it a sustainable option for paving.
- Porous Asphalt. Porous asphalt is made with small voids that allow water to seep through. This helps to reduce stormwater runoff and the potential for flooding and erosion. Porous asphalt is also made from recycled materials, which helps to reduce the environmental impact even further.
- Permeable Pavers - TrueGrid. TrueGrid is a type of plastic paver that is made from 100% recycled materials. It is designed to allow water to flow through it, and it can be used in a variety of applications including parking lots, driveways, and walkways. They are not vulnerable to high heat, do not break down over time, and can be filled in with gravel or porous asphalt.
Paving a new parking lot ends up being a big decision for any commercial business, not just because of the cost, but also because of the sheer amount of available eco-friendly options. If you’d like help determining which asphalt paving option is best for your new parking lot, DCPLM is here to help! We can answer any questions about eco-friendly asphalt paving, provide you with a quote, and explain the benefits of one asphalt type over another. Give us a call at (407) 618-9646 or contact us through our website. You can also send us a DM on Instagram or tag us in any of our posts.