Tracking the carbon footprint

The carbon footprint of our asphalt products can be determined down to individual production batches. The calculations make it possible for us to provide customers with asphalt that suits their specific needs, with the least possible emissions.

Carbon footprint calculations help us determine how the carbon dioxide emissions of asphalt production are created and assess the impact of our various measures aimed at reducing CO2 emissions.

“It is important for us to understand how our operations impact the environment so that we can further reduce their negative environmental effects. Our largest customers already have strict environmental targets, and other operators are quickly catching up. We are ready to respond to our customers’ growing interest in this area,” says Corporate Responsibility Manager Elina Raivio. Elina is responsible for the implementation of carbon footprint calculations at Lemminkäinen.

Product Development Expert Anniina Määttänen is in charge of the carbon footprint calculations at the central laboratory located in Tuusula.

“Collecting the initial data on all of our operating countries and the stages of the manufacturing process takes a lot of work. We started with Finland and we are now able to determine the carbon footprint of different asphalt products as early as in the request for quote stage,” Anniina says. 

The majority of the carbon footprint of asphalt arises from fuel consumption

Reducing energy consumption is a permanent target of ours. Among other things, we have run a campaign aimed at avoiding the unnecessary idling of our machines at all paving and mineral aggregate sites. This has allowed us to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Another example is the shelters we have built for mineral aggregates at asphalt plants. When the raw material is kept dry, less energy is needed to produce asphalt mass.

In Denmark, all our asphalt plants are already operating with gas. In Norway and Finland we have changed some of the asphalt plants so they run on liquid petroleum or natural gas. These actions decreases carbon dioxide emissions by nearly a third. In Sweden, we intend to increase the number of plants running on biofuel. As biofuel is produced from renewable plant-based raw materials, it helps us significantly reduce the carbon footprint of asphalt production. 

Some of our asphalt is produced using the low-temperature asphalt (LTA) method, which enables us to produce asphalt mass at a temperature around 20 degrees lower than before, thereby reducing fuel consumption.

The use of reclaimed asphalt also reduces the carbon footprint. Asphalt that is no longer used can be recycled completely into raw material for new paving, which reduces the need for new mineral aggregates and bitumen, while also requiring less transport.

The best alternatives are found through partnerships

In future, we will increasingly work in partnership with our customers to seek solutions that generate the least possible emissions.

“The calculations will help our customers see how the different alternatives support their environmental targets. We will work together to identify the methods and products that will allow the customer’s carbon footprint to remain as small as possible,” Elina Raivio and Anniina Määttänen explain.