Navigation Links
Paving the way for green roads
Date:2/21/2008

DURHAM, N.H. Kevin Gardner sees green roads right around the corner.

A lot of the infrastructure in this country needs to be re-built, says Gardner, University of New Hampshire associate professor of civil engineering and director of the Environmental Research Group. We have a real opportunity to re-build the infrastructure the right way with sustainable materials and socially sensitive designs that protect air, water, land, and human resources.

Funded by the Federal Highway Administration and pooled state highway funds, as well as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants for specific research projects, Gardner established the new Recycled Materials Resource Management Center (RMRC) at UNH on June 1, 2007. The RRMC is a collaboration between UNH environmental and social impact researchers and University Wisconsin-Madison geotechnical, or soil behavior, faculty. Working closely with a board of advisors composed of representatives from the EPA, the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, as well as numerous other stakeholders, one of the Centers activities is to establish a green roads program that develops criteria for what makes a roadway green.

Similar to the green buildings program established by the U.S. Green Building Council, which triggered a boom in green building construction, a green roads program, it is believed, will give the green light to sweeping reforms in the way we build roads. The project is full of twists and turns. Todays urban sprawl requires road builders to confront a range of sensitive issues involving air, water, land, building materials, energy use, biodiversity, and social capitalan index of social productivity and quality of life.

To jump-start the process, the RMRC faculty teamed up with the UNH Stormwater Center in Durham. Their task is to account for both environmental and social impacts of road-building, as well as establish better uses of recycled and virgin aggregate materials, such as crushed rock, much of which must be transported from New Hampshire. Green standards, according to Gardner, will give road builders the guidelines they need to effectively reduce the environmental impacts (such as carbon footprint, wetlands disturbance, and stormwater runoff generation) and improve the quality of life in communities affected by infrastructure re-construction.

The first step is to figure out how to reduce the 300 million tons of virgin aggregate materials mined in this country every year. The U.S. currently recycles 90% of used asphalt, but still uses a large percentage of virgin materials in the recycled mix. The question is, can pavement be made with 90% recycled asphalt, or does it have to be less than 40% or even 20% to get a roadbed that lasts? What happens to the modifiers that bind these materials over time? How recyclable are the recycled materials?

The cost of building a road is not reflected fully in the price of materials, Gardner adds. The total cost of mining virgin materials, for instance, involves not only the cost of materials and labor, but also the environmental cost at the mining site, the environmental costs (such as air pollution and its associated health care costs) of transporting these materials to the building site, and the environmental costs of building the equipment to mine and transport material and build the roads.

To account for these hidden costs, the RMRC created a computer model that Gardners Ph.D. student Alberta Birdie Carpenter uses to capture the full environmental, social and material costs of road-building. The model was recently road-tested in the Pittsburgh region to help identify the significant influence that materials recycling can have on regional air quality, hazardous waste generation, greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts.

Research and development of better ways to re-build infrastructure is only half the battle. The other half is education and outreach to developers, road-builders, and engineering students. In addition to publishing and publicizing the results of their research and green roads standards, the RMRC is now offering a sustainable engineering class at UNH and expects to have fellowship and Ph.D. programs by 2010.

The first green roads will probably start with small housing developments and municipalities because developers and local developers have already seen the benefits of green building construction, says Gardner, but as the benefits and cost-savings begin to be realized on a bigger scale, we believe the RMRC green roads program will pave the way for rapid adaptation at all levels of road-building.


'/>"/>

Contact: Debra JohnyBear
debra.johnybear@unh.edu
603-862-3102
University of New Hampshire
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Green tea boosts production of detox enzymes, rendering cancerous chemicals harmless
2. New study shows greenback cutthroat trout involved in recovery effort misidentified
3. American Chemical Society calls green chemistry bill a smart step
4. Salmon garnish points the way to green electronics
5. Using green chemistry to deliver cutting-edge drugs
6. Green skies: Engineers work may reduce jet travels role in global warming
7. A greenhouse in order to study the impact of climate change on plants
8. Green leather is in this season
9. Study involving more than 100 scientists provides new insights on green algae
10. Green alga genome project catalogs carbon capture machinery
11. Green algae -- the nexus of plant/animal ancestry
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/24/2017)... Feb. 24, 2017  EyeLock LLC, a leader of iris-based ... iris biometric solution on the latest Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ ... Mobile World Congress 2017 (February 27 – ... Hall 3, Stand 3E10. The ... security platform—a combination of hardware, software and ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... ARMONK, N.Y. and PORTLAND, Ore. ... IBM ) and the Avamere Family of Companies (Avamere ... Care) today announced a six-month research study that will ... caregivers improve eldercare at senior living and health centers. ... facilities, Avamere hopes to gain insights into physical and ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... 16, 2017  Genos, a community for personal ... has received Laboratory Accreditation from the College of ... to laboratories that meet stringent requirements around quality, ... processes. "Genos is committed to maintaining ... We,re honored to be receiving CAP accreditation," said ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... ... is proud to announce it has become the premiere team-building cooking event company in San ... world, such as Illumina, HP and Qualcomm, and is ranked #1 in its category on ... to its new team building format, a way for teams to not only interact with ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... MENLO PARK, Calif., March 23, 2017  BioPharmX ... developing products for the dermatology market, today reported ... Jan. 31, 2017, and will provide an update ... from the year. "We are pleased ... productive year for BioPharmX," said President Anja Krammer. ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. , March 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... million in Series A financing and note conversion to ... products. Cool Planet is focused on developing products that ... raised nearly $30 million in the last 18 months. ... Coppel and North Bridge Venture Partners. ...
(Date:3/22/2017)...  Ascendis Pharma A/S (Nasdaq: ASND), a biopharmaceutical ... address significant unmet medical needs in rare diseases, ... ended December 31, 2016. "2016 ... we broadened our pipeline and pursued our vision ... with an initial focus on endocrinology," said ...
Breaking Biology Technology: