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Chapter 3
Designing for Environmental Stewardship in Construction & Maintenance
3.15. Design for Sustainability and Energy Conservation

Energy conservation decisions can be a factor in mode choice decisions made in Planning, as part of Major Investment Studies, or in Project Development as part of the alternatives analysis process for projects for projects undergoing Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements. Within construction and operations, DOTs also have choices with regard to operation of construction equipment (addressed in Chapter 4) and design of facilities.

A number of excellent green building resources are available. Building Green is an independent research organization which does not accept advertising, and which won the Architects, Designers, Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) Lewis Mumford Award for Environment for 2004.

New York City Transit's Green Building and Design for the Environment Programs

The New York City Transit (NYCT) agency is a national leader in very long-term facility and capital planning in conjunction with environmental conservation; sustainable development supports the concept that economic and social development is complementary to environmental protection. It involves both long and short-term planning to increase community and business growth and productivity without diminishing the health and productivity of supporting and surrounding natural systems.
NYCT's Green Building Program is among the most notable of any transportation agency in the country. NYCT's program, Design for the Environment (DfE), ensures that all building and construction projects (ranging from building designs to subway expansion) are reviewed and approved to meet sustainability standards that include energy efficiency; indoor environmental quality; water and natural resources conservation; and pollution prevention. Some project examples address:

  • Harnessing renewable energy - The Gun Hill Bus Depot (the Bronx) contains one of the largest solar energy facilities on the East Coast. Renovations at the Stillwell Avenue terminal (Coney Island-Stillwell Av station in Brooklyn) will include 60,000 feet of integrated photovoltaic paneled roof. This is expected to produce 210 kilowatts of solar power.
  • Conserving water - The Corona Subway Yard and Maintenance Facility ( Queens) is being designed to use rainwater and recycle wash water in its subway car wash.
  • Recycling materials and reducing landfill needs - The Roosevelt Avenue subway station ( Queens) rehabilitation has diverted more than 85 percent of demolition waste (e.g., concrete, steel, wood) from landfill to recyclers.

NYC Transit has implemented many programs that promote sustainability. In December,
2003, NYC Transit became a Full Signatory member of the International Association of Public Transport (L'Union Internationale des Transports Publics, or UITP) Charter on Sustainable Development, building on agency commitments on which NYCT took action in the late 1990s. In 1999, the NYCT Department of Capital Program Management (CPM) became the first department of an American public agency and the first transit organization in the world to have an environmental management system certified to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 EMS.

The following recommendations come from the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Public Facilities EMS: [N]

Design for Efficient Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning of Facilities

  • Consider alternative heating sources such as ground-source heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, solar or other renewable energy sources.
  • Design buildings to allow for the use of outdoor air for cooling/heating as temperatures allow.
  • Design HVAC systems to allow for changes of heating/cooling and ventilation to match building occupancy times. Any manual over-rides of the system should be designed to automatically return to the original schedule at the end of the over-ride period.

Design for Lighting Conservation

  • Consider daylighting during design; make it possible to turn off or dim interior lights to take advantage of daylighting.
  • Include occupancy sensors wherever possible so that lights are not left on in unoccupied areas.
  • Plan for task lighting in each work area.

Design for Cooler Pavements and Reducing the Urban "Heat Island" Effect

Dark pavements and the reduction of vegetation in urban areas has been shown to produce a "heat island" in urban areas which raises cooling and energy costs during the summer. EPA commissioned a report to capture the state of knowledge and activity on "cool pavements," which incorporate paving materials with higher surface reflectivity (solar reflectance) that are generally cooler in the sun. Use of lighter-colored aggregate in asphalt and concrete pavements can produce higher reflectance, where such material is locally available. In addition, roller-compacted concrete may be used where a strong, economical pavement is needed in locations where speed and smoothness are not critical. On lower volume roads, asphalt chip seals may use light-colored aggregate, which can improve reflectance while extending asphalt pavement life and improving skid resistance.

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Table of Contents
Chapter 3
Designing for Environmental Stewardship in Construction & Maintenance
3.1 Beyond Mitigation: Projects to Achieve Environmental Goals
3.2 Context Sensitive Design/Solutions
3.3 Avoiding Impacts to Historic Sites
3.4 Designing to Accommodate Wildlife, Habitat Connectivity, and Safe Crossings
3.5 Culverts and Fish Passage
3.6 Stream Restoration and Bioengineering
3.7 Design Guidance for Stormwater and Erosion & Sedimentation Control
3.8 Drainage Ditches, Berms, Dikes, and Swales
3.9 Design for Sustainable, Low Maintenance Roadsides
3.10 Designing to Reduce Snow, Ice, and Chemical Accumulation
3.11 Designing to Minimize Air Quality Problems
3.12 Design and Specification for Recycling
3.13 Designing to Minimize Noise
3.14 Lighting Control/Minimization
3.15 Design for Sustainability and Energy Conservation
3.16 Safety Rest Areas, Traveler Services, and Parking Area Design
Lists: Examples | Tables | Figures
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