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 Study sets new distance record for medical drone transport
13.09.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Researchers 'count cars' -- literally -- to find a better way to control heavy traffic
10.08.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

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: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>