A trip to a greener Windy City leads through the city’s alleyways

The city of Chicago and the Chicago Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) will attempt to green an area of the city longer than the distance from Chicago to Las Vegas.


The city of Chicago and the Chicago Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) will attempt to green an area of the city longer than the distance from Chicago to Las Vegas.

The development of the new Green Alley Project includes three main initiatives: the repaving of Chicago’s 1,900 miles of alleyways with permeable pavement, the use of high albedo pavement in sidewalks, and the use of energy-efficient dark sky lighting. The repaving of alleys with permeable pavement will help water trickle down into the purifying aquifer and help recharge the city’s groundwater system. The high albedo pavement will reflect the sun’s heat during the summer months and reduce smog levels and the heat island effect. Finally, the implementation of energy-efficient dark sky lighting for streetlamps, which focuses light downward rather than a 360-degree sphere, will reduce light pollution within the city’s limits.

Storm water management, a reduced smog effect, and an elimination of flooding in the alleyways will be some of the effects in the early stages of the Green Alley Project. Chicago’s commitment to the advancement of green technology will help expand the uses and effects of these technologies in the future. The high albedo pavement used in the sidewalks will lower temperatures and reduce smog, resulting in an improved outdoor air quality around the building. The lower temperatures and improved air quality will eventually reduce the strain on a building’s HVAC system and help lower cooling costs, especially during the warmer months. In Europe, the acceptance of the more advanced photocatalysts or titanium dioxide concrete represents the future for the high albedo concrete in the city of Chicago. The titanium dioxide reacts with sunlight and absorbs UV light. Through the absorption of the UV light, the process enables a catalytic reaction to take place. The reaction destroys common pollutants from vehicle emissions, smog, and the heat island effect.

Chicago green alley
In Chicago, the source of water remains Lake Michigan, but the source is not limitless and the search for more sustainable water and plumbing systems continues. The depletion of groundwater systems can lead to the addition of groundwater replenishment systems, similar to the systems in California, Colorado, and Florida, which purify sewer water to help replenish lowered levels of groundwater. Greater acceptance and an expanded use of permeable pavement in Chicago will result in a recharging of groundwater systems and may result in a wide scale redesign of plumbing and a more sustainable water system.

CDOT collaborated with S.T.A.T.E. Testing LLC , to oversee the concrete quality and control aspect of the Green Alley Project. Both CDOT and S.T.A.T.E Testing have discussed the benefits and future possibilities of such green technologies.

Jay Behnke, PE, president of S.T.A.T.E. Testing said, “There has yet to be any talks of using the high albedo concrete in driveways and parking lots in subdivisions and office buildings. The strength has increased, the technology is advancing, and the cost is going down; there is no foreseeable reason why driveways and sidewalks all over the Chicagoland area should not be using this technology.”

Behnke said the expanded use of these green technologies would influence the future of conceptual design and USGBC LEED certification processes. The age of the construction of mega-high rises should usher in new LEED standards. The inclusion of permeable pavement and high albedo concrete in the construction of the parking lots, sidewalks, and foundations should factor into the green building equation.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.