Rock to Road

Green road made from toilets

March 3, 2012  By  Scott Jamieson

greenroads_certified_road_projectMar. 3, 2012, Seattle, Wash. – The Greenroads Foundation announced that
the Meador Kansas Ellis Trail Project in Bellingham has
become the first-ever project to achieve Greenroads™ certification. The Meador Kansas Ellis Trail Project’s certification using the
Greenroads Rating System means that the project was reviewed by the
Greenroads Foundation, an independent third party.

It was certified to
meet Greenroads Silver certification standards, which represent a
significantly higher level of sustainability than the typical road
project of today. The project’s Silver Certification achievement is a reflection of the innovation and commitment to sustainability demonstrated by all involved. The Meador Kansas Ellis Trail project spans six blocks of downtown Bellingham and it represents the final link of the popular Whatcom Creek recreational trail.

This “world’s first Greenroad” represents a major milestone for both the City of Bellingham and the Greenroads Foundation. For the City of Bellingham it was an opportunity to put its commitment to sustainability into action on its streets.  “Working with the Greenroads system has helped us to add key content to our specifications for more sustainable project delivery as well as getting our department to design more holistically,” said Freeman Anthony, Bellingham’s project manager.

The City of Bellingham incorporated many sustainable elements into the project’s design including:
·      Recycled porcelain aggregates made from over 400 crushed toilets that were diverted from the landfill
·      Asphalt with recycled content of 30 percent and recycled concrete aggregates
·      Porous pavements that naturally treat runoff and provide effective stormwater management
·      Low-energy LED street lighting
·      New amenities and improvements for pedestrians and bicycles using the Whatcom Creek Trail.
For the Greenroads Foundation, the certification represents the culmination of a five-year process to research, develop and implement a sustainability rating system for the roadway industry. The Greenroads Rating System began as a research project at the University of Washington in 2007 and since then has involved over 20,000 hours of work and more than 100 roadway project case studies.


“Sustainable roadways are not just a dream. This certification means that Greenroads’ five years of research and development has finally become a reality,” says Jeralee Anderson, Executive Director of Greenroads Foundation. “The Meador Kansas Ellis Trail project is a great example of the mission of the organization and further defines the practical steps that can be taken to green our roads — both nationally and internationally.”

An international standard, the Greenroads Rating System is a collection of sustainable roadway design and construction best practices that address water, environment, access, community impact, construction practices and materials. There are 11 "Project Requirements” that must be completed in order for a roadway to be considered a Greenroad, as well as 37 "Voluntary Credits" that a project team can choose to pursue. After a rigorous review process, the Greenroads Foundation then assigns a project score based on the number of points earned by meeting the requirements and achieving credits. This score translates to one of four certification levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Evergreen.

“The Greenroads Rating System can be used to help manage, improve and communicate sustainability,” said Steve Muench, a founder and board member of the Greenroads Foundation. “It represents an independent verification of sustainable features that truly matter and make a difference.”

Globally, 12 projects are currently pursuing Greenroads certification, ranging from new construction to reconstruction to overlay and bridge projects. Registration for project certification became available in 2011.

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