Windows rolled down. Wind whipping through your hair. Music blaring from the speakers.
Does this scene sound familiar? Chances are many (if not all) of you have experienced driving down the highway and can relate to this imagery. Indeed, driving on the millions of miles of American highways is as embedded in our culture as hot dogs.
The United States highway network consists of 4 million miles of roads and streets. But did you know that building and maintaining a single mile of freeway takes as much energy as 200 homes in the U.S. use in one year? Or that it generates more waste than 1,200 homes produce annually? I certainly didn’t.
Luckily, researchers from the University of Washington’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the engineering firm CH2M Hill have launched the world’s first rating system for sustainable road construction.
Just as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) introduced the LEED Rating System — a third-party certification program encouraging sustainable green building through tool and performance criteria — the researchers and engineering firm have introduced Greenroads.
According to the website, Greenroads is “a sustainability performance metric for roadway design and construction. It is applicable to new and reconstructed/rehabiliated roadways. It awards points for approved sustainable choices/practices and can be used to assess roadway project sustainability.”
In order for a roadway to be considered a Greenroad, it must meet 11 “Project Requirements”. Much like the LEED system, there are also several levels of certification including: certified, silver, gold and evergreen.
Sustainable practices continue to be implemented into all facets of living and Greenroads is a great example of the progress that’s being made. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — our future is green and that’s a good thing.
What do you think? Will Greenroads be a success?