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 firstname.lastname@example.org and Bevan at 425-233-3212 or tim.bevan@CH2M.com.
Hannah Hickey | EurekAlert!
Laser rescue system for serious accidents
29.11.2016 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
Bremen University students reach the final at robotics competition with parcel delivery robot
19.10.2016 | BIBA - Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine