Lenox 10/19/2011 5:38:09 AM
News / Business

Road Construction Industry Turning to Solar Powered Supplies

The road construction industry is continuing to adapt more economically and environmentally sustainable products to save money and improve productivity

As new roads are constructed or repaired, the issues of environmental and economic sustainability will continue to be the subject of discussion. Building a single two-lane road with an aggregate base will need nearly 25,000 tons of crushed stone and it can easily cost millions of dollars per mile. As these costs continue to rise, many road construction companies are looking at alternative “green” solutions to help cut costs.

Some of the new solutions these companies employ have a fairly large scope, such as adding old rubber tires as road filler, while others, like switching to solar powered barricade lights, may not seem like a massive change but still have an effect on the industry.

“I have seen a change in sales from battery powered barricade lights to their solar powered counterparts,” said Brandon Anderson, the owner of Trans-Supply.com. “I think a lot of this is because solar technology is becoming more affordable which makes it a viable, economic alternative to traditional battery models. The sales for our barricade lights are almost exclusively solar, and that’s a win-win situation because it’s both cheaper and more environmentally friendly.”

Solar-powered barricade lights are becoming a common sight on many construction projects. They are designed to draw attention, even in low-visibility areas, and alert drivers to possible dangers or bad road conditions. The LED lights are very durable, can last years longer than traditional lights, and are generally easier to distinguish at greater distances.

Solar-powered LED lights provide cost benefits by eliminating the need to continually replace the batteries, and, with no filament to burn out, they can provide years of reliable service. Most traditional batteries will need to be replaced at least once every three months, and if they have been sitting in storage for any length of time, they must be tested one at a time to make sure they still work. Solar-powered lights eliminate this process, because they can simply be moved to the next location and put into immediate service.

Previously, the costs for these types of environmentally sustainable products have been prohibitively expensive for most companies, and even then it would be years before they could see any significant return on their investment. However, with the development of new technologies and manufacturing techniques, these costs have come down far enough to make these lights a viable alternative to increase efficiency and save money.

The question of economic and environmental sustainability isn’t going to go away, and road construction companies must find new ways to maintain the current level of construction while sustaining a profitable business model. These new, “green” alternatives are becoming more effective, reliable, and efficient, which is why so many companies are incorporating them in their processes.