Continual focus on sustainability and environmental stewardship
RALEIGH -Each year, the nation sets aside April 22 to celebrate the beauty of the planet and to remind each one of us to do our part to protect the environment. At NCDOT, one of our core values is an unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship. This focus on sustainability means every day is Earth Day at NCDOT.
NCDOT's 3R Program encourages all employees to use resources thoughtfully and responsibly. "NCDOT is focused on the conscientious use of natural resources to minimize our impact on the environment," said Tami Gabriel, Value Management Program Engineer. "Whether in the office or on the construction site, our employees are urged to reduce, reuse and recycle discarded items and materials."
In one year alone, NCDOT's aluminum recycling efforts conserved enough electricity to power an average home for 369 years, or every home in Raleigh for an entire year. That same year, NCDOT employees' efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle saved:
2,872,000 kilowatts of electricity
5,026,000 gallons of water
272,840 gallons of oil
But NCDOT's efforts to protect the environment do not stop with the department's employees. NCDOT incorporates environmental sensitivity into the various stages of decision making within the agency, and qualified contractors are required to implement a strong sustainability program in order to be considered for transportation projects.
One example of an NCDOT contractor utilizing sustainable construction processes is Clark Pavement Markings of Apex, which uses recycled glass beads in its thermoplastic paint mix used to stripe roads. The recycled glass gives the stripes a glittery appearance, which increases the nighttime visibility of the lane markings. In the first quarter of 2014, 752 tons of glass beads were used in the application of this type of thermoplastic paint striping statewide.
Another green contractor is Granite Construction, who is using reclaimed asphalt on the I-40/440 Fortify project in Raleigh. Granite is recycling old asphalt removed as part of the project and incorporating it into the new pavement mix that will used to repave the 11.5-mile stretch of highway. By using reclaimed asphalt, the need for virgin materials is lowered by up to 30 percent. Statewide, NCDOT used approximately 57,900 tons of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement in pavement construction and resurfacing projects in the first quarter of 2014.
Granite also uses warm-mix asphalt as opposed to the traditional hot-mix asphalt. Warm-mix asphalt is produced and laid at temperatures 50-100 degrees lower than hot-mix asphalt, which results in lower fuel consumption and emissions and enables crews to pave in cooler temperatures. This extends the traditional paving season, which gets motorists back on the road more quickly and improves the work environment for our employees.
To learn more about NCDOT's efforts to connect people and places safely, efficiently and with environmental sensitivity, visit http://www.connect.ncdot.gov/ and click on the Resources tab.