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Global warming is caused mainly by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, in which CO2 emissions play a major part. Prompted by a number of developments such as the Kyoto protocol, road managers, road contractors and material producers try to reduce emissions. The transport sector is responsible for approximately 25 % of all greenhouse gas emissions, with the greater part being due to road transport. Energy consumption is also closely monitored in the road construction sector. Road managers and contractors have an interest in quantifying greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.
Also, there is a trend among road managers to include environmental, economic and social impacts in the decision-making process for awarding contracts. The challenge is to use the right tools in the right situations, in order to achieve objective results.
A wide range of software tools is available to assess the sustainability of road works.
One of the objectives is to investigate what tools are adequate and flexible in calculating a carbon footprint. The life cycle assessment of a road is a closely related subject.
BRRC actively participates in the present PIARC working group TC 4.2.3 Reducing the Life Cycle Carbon Footprint of Pavements.
The ongoing CEDR project EDGAR (Evaluation and Decision Process for Greener Asphalt roads), which investigates the use of new technologies and materials for bituminous applications from a sustainability point of view, fits into this context as well.