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Poticrete Sidewalk

Many cities are testing out strange materials for road and sidewalk construction in an attempt to go green.

Some of the materials being looked at are porous asphalt, recycled roofing shingles, and even plastic bottles.

But the city of Bellingham, Washington, has been the most creative so far having just completed a pedestrian walkway incorporating recycled porcelain from more than 400 crushed toilets that were diverted from a local landfill.

The project was part of the six-block Meador Kansas Ellis Trail Project in downtown Bellingham, which also included other sustainable elements like porous pavement and LED street lighting.

The city even paved roads with asphalt containing 30 percent recycled materials. Now that’s some dirty walking. Would you be comfortable walking about on all those old commodes?

This project is also one of the first to pursue Greenroads certification, coming away with the third-party organization’s Silver Certification award. The city is far from embarrassed of its unconventional building material. This “Poticrete Sidewalk” plaque is placed prominently on the finished walking path.

The Greenroads program, which began as a research project in the University of Washington’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2007 and expanded after partnering with engineering firm CH2M Hill in 2008, is similar to the LEED program for green buildings. It uses a points rating system to assess sustainability and awards projects with Certified, Silver, Gold and Evergreen certifications.

Greenroads™ is a sustainability rating system for roadway design and construction. It is applicable to all roadway projects including new, reconstruction and rehabilitation (even overlays), bridges. If there is a project where a road is involved, you can apply it.

Greenroads™ is a collection of sustainability best practices, called “credits,” that relate to roadway design and construction. Achieving these credits can earn points toward a total score for the project, and in general, this Greenroads™ score can be used as an indicator of sustainability for the roadway. Four different certification levels (rating) are available depending upon total score on a voluntary basis.

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