Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Greenroads' rates sustainable road projects

13.01.2010
Road construction is a more than $80 billion annual industry in the United States. Yet nothing comparable to the LEED rating system for buildings, or the Energy Star system for appliances, exists for highways and roads.

University of Washington researchers and global engineering firm CH2M Hill today unveiled Greenroads, a rating system for sustainable road design and construction. Environmental, economic and social impacts are included.

The system outlines minimum requirements to qualify as a green roadway, including a noise mitigation plan, storm-water management plan and waste management plan. It also allows up to 118 points for voluntary actions such as minimizing light pollution, using recycled materials, incorporating quiet pavement and accommodating non-motorized transportation.

"The LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] system has been really successful and has achieved a lot," said lead author Steve Muench, a UW assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. "Roads are a big chunk of the construction industry that has an opportunity to participate more fully in sustainability practices. I think there's a lot of opportunity there."

The first complete version of Greenroads is now available at www.greenroads.us. Muench presented the project today at the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The rating system was developed during the past three years by the UW Greenroads team and collaborators at CH2M Hill.

Greenroads' aims are threefold: to recognize companies already using sustainable methods; to provide a catalog of ideas for greener practices; and to offer an incentive for agencies and companies to build more environmentally friendly roads. The system can be used either for new road projects or for upgrades on existing roads.

"This helps our industry become more sustainable and shows the public that we can deliver sustainable roadways," said Tim Bevan, west region technology manager at CH2M Hill. "To some, it has not been perceived to be that important, but more and more we're finding the public is concerned about the environmental impacts of roadways."

A number of government agencies have already expressed interest in the project, including the Oregon Department of Transportation and the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Highways.

Managers can have their projects rated for a fee by contacting the Greenroads team. Right now, limited staff means only some projects can be rated. In the long term, the team hopes to allow qualified third-party consultants to do the ratings.

"We've had a lot of positive response," Muench said. "It's quickly becoming something that needs to be more than a research project."

Greenroads originated in 2007 when Martina Söderlund, a graduate student from Sweden, came to the UW through the Valle Scholarship and Scandinavian Exchange Program.

"She was interested in sustainability and I was interested in roads, so we put our heads together and came up with this," said Muench, who was Söderlund's adviser for her master's thesis.

Now that the thesis has evolved into a complete document, the team is hoping to get feedback on the system's ease of use, choice of credits and the point value assigned to each credit.

"This first version is just a starting point. We'd like to know what industry thinks of the system and get their help in developing it further," Muench said.

Research funding was provided by Transportation Northwest at the UW, the State Pavement Technology Consortium, Western Federal Lands Highway Division and the Oregon Department of Transportation. CH2M Hill contributed staff time to the project.

For more information, contact Muench at 206-616-1259 or stmuench@uw.edu and Bevan at 425-233-3212 or tim.bevan@CH2M.com.

Hannah Hickey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uw.edu

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Tool helps cities to plan electric bus routes, and calculate the benefits
09.01.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Realistic training for extreme flight conditions
28.12.2016 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>