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Green Infrastructure and Recycled Materials Sustainability

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Building".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2023) | Viewed by 16785

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Interests: recycled materials and infrastructure sustainability; infrastrcucture materials characterization and performance assessment; condition assessment of infrastructure and materials through NDT; QA/QC; specifications; risk analysis
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is estimated that by 2050 nearly 70 percent of the world’s population (about six billion people) will be living in urban areas. With such widespread migration to urban settlements and an emerging need to address the environmental impacts of building and/or expanding urban areas, sustainability requirements for developing “green infrastructure” must be addressed. Currently, most efforts towards developing green infrastructure recognize the important role of recycled materials in reducing the use of natural resources and raw materials and reducing energy and water consumption, as well as emissions.

Thus, the focus of this Special Issue, “Green Infrastructure & Recycled Materials Sustainability”, is presenting a collection of up-to-date research articles that explore the use and assess the impact of developing green civil infrastructure, such as green buildings and sustainable roadways, green roofs, permeable surfaces in parking lots and other civil infrastructure components promoting filtration while addressing structural requirements. This Special Issue also welcomes studies that consider the impact on properties and the sustainability of using alternative recycled and reclaimed construction materials, including those used in road and building construction (such as recycled asphalt pavement, RAP, recycled concrete aggregate, RCA, construction and demolition wastes, CDW), material processing byproducts (such as rock dusts, aggregate fines, returned concrete aggregate, CCA), industrial byproducts, and wastes such as fly ash, FA, foundry sand, FS, glass culets, crumb rubber and tire chips, and recycled plastics, among others. Studies that specifically assess and quantify the influence of such recycling materials in the development of green infrastructure through life cycle analysis, LCA, economic and environmental impact assessments, and sustainability metrics to compare sustainable alternates are especially welcome.

Dr. Dimitrios G. Goulias
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • recycled and reclaimed materials
  • infrastructure materials
  • green infrastructure
  • sustainability assessment and ratings
  • life cycle analysis
  • economic and environmental impact analysis

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 4893 KiB  
Article
Life Cycle Assessment of Aggregate Quarry By-Product Fines in Pavement Applications
by Issam I. A. Qamhia, Erol Tutumluer and Hasan Ozer
Sustainability 2023, 15(13), 10705; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151310705 - 7 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1092
Abstract
Quarry by-products (QB) pose a major environmental challenge for quarries as they accumulate in large quantities, and their beneficial uses are continually sought out. Research at the Illinois Center for Transportation introduced seven applications to utilize QB in chemically stabilized base/subbase pavement layers. [...] Read more.
Quarry by-products (QB) pose a major environmental challenge for quarries as they accumulate in large quantities, and their beneficial uses are continually sought out. Research at the Illinois Center for Transportation introduced seven applications to utilize QB in chemically stabilized base/subbase pavement layers. These applications were evaluated for field performance through accelerated pavement testing. This paper presents results for the environmental benefits and trade-offs of including QB or blends of QB with recycled materials in pavements. The seven QB applications and a control section were evaluated in terms of environmental impacts using life cycle assessment (LCA). The LCA was conducted in accordance with the International Standard Organization ISO 14044:2006 guidelines. The life cycle impacts were calculated in terms of energy consumption and global warming potential. Three scenarios for (1) as-constructed thicknesses, (2) as-designed thicknesses, and (3) thinner sections for local roads were considered. LCA analysis results were interpreted in terms of the normalized impacts and the response benefits based on falling weight deflectometer resilient deflections to reflect on the impacts due to relative service life expectancy. It was shown that cement-stabilized QB pavement layers, particularly those having QB blended with recycled pavement materials, can have lower environmental impacts when normalized over pavement life and anticipated traffic (i.e., when pavement life expectancy is considered). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructure and Recycled Materials Sustainability)
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15 pages, 3754 KiB  
Article
Developing Sustainable Asphalt Mixtures Using High-Density Polyethylene Plastic Waste Material
by Ibrahim Elnaml, Jun Liu, Louay N. Mohammad, Nazimuddin Wasiuddin, Samuel B. Cooper III and Samuel B. Cooper, Jr.
Sustainability 2023, 15(13), 9897; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15139897 - 21 Jun 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1515
Abstract
There is growing interest in sustainable road pavement technologies to protect the environment and provide economic benefits. Post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics are considered for construction to address the threat of plastic waste materials (PWM) and to improve sustainability. Asphalt pavement construction is highly [...] Read more.
There is growing interest in sustainable road pavement technologies to protect the environment and provide economic benefits. Post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics are considered for construction to address the threat of plastic waste materials (PWM) and to improve sustainability. Asphalt pavement construction is highly considered for PWM recycling due to its large daily production. The purpose of this study is to investigate the performance of asphalt mixture containing PWM, specifically high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and compare its performance with two conventional mixtures. Three asphalt mixtures were considered: (1) mixture with asphalt binder PG 76-22 (SBS-modified); (2) mixture with asphalt binder PG 70-22 (SBS-modified); and (3) mixture with binder PG 67-22 and 3% HDPE (the plastic mixture). The rheological properties of the modified asphalt binders and the performance of the modified asphalt mixtures were evaluated. The long-term field performance of the pavements was modeled using AASHTOWare software (v.1.1.6) for the three mixtures considered. The results showed that all the mixtures were able to comply with the cracking threshold specified by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD) for high-traffic volume roads. In addition, the plastic asphalt mixture showed similar performance to the one containing PG 70-22 (SBS-modified) asphalt binder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructure and Recycled Materials Sustainability)
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14 pages, 3221 KiB  
Article
Structural Performance of Foamed Asphalt Base in a Full Depth Reclaimed and Sustainable Pavement
by Konstantinos Gkyrtis, Christina Plati and Andreas Loizos
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 3622; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043622 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1467
Abstract
Environmental awareness and budgetary constraints in road construction and rehabilitation require innovative and at the same time environmentally friendly solutions in favor of resource conservation, in any type of pavement intervention. In the meantime, surface interventions in severely deteriorated pavements are insufficient, increasing [...] Read more.
Environmental awareness and budgetary constraints in road construction and rehabilitation require innovative and at the same time environmentally friendly solutions in favor of resource conservation, in any type of pavement intervention. In the meantime, surface interventions in severely deteriorated pavements are insufficient, increasing as such the recycling potential of existing materials in Full Depth Reclamation (FDR). This study addresses the efficiency of an FDR process in which the recycled base course of an existing semi-rigid pavement is stabilized with Foamed Asphalt (FA). The adverse effects of FA curing, which have a significant impact on pavement evaluation, particularly in the early stages of a pavement’s life cycle, prompted the conduct of a comprehensive testing campaign at two different periods, shortly after pavement rehabilitation and five years thereafter. The campaign included nondestructive testing at the aforementioned periods using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and the Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD), which facilitate the structural evaluation of the FA base. Using the collected nondestructive testing data, the principles of Multi-Layer Elastic Theory (MLET) and Genetic Algorithms (GA) are used to investigate the performance of the FA base. Both analysis tools captured the FA strength increase in the second period, but an increased variance of the FA modulus was observed mainly in the first test period, probably due to the curing effect. In addition, GA showed an advantage over other, more conventional tools for back-analysis of pavement stiffness, resulting in an interesting correlation potential of FA modulus to a deflection-based parameter reflecting the condition of the FA layer. Overall, the study contributes to the development of a practical methodology suitable for the evaluation of non-conventional and sustainable pavement structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructure and Recycled Materials Sustainability)
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18 pages, 2980 KiB  
Article
Investigation of Using Crushed Glass Waste as Filler Replacement in Hot Asphalt Mixtures
by Firas Barraj, Sarah Mahfouz, Hussein Kassem, Jamal Khatib, Dimitrios Goulias and Adel Elkordi
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2241; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032241 - 25 Jan 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1993
Abstract
Due to the depletion of natural aggregates and high maintenance cost of highway systems, developing sustainable asphalt concrete (AC) mixes that use waste materials instead of virgin raw materials is necessary. A large amount of waste glass material is globally generated per year [...] Read more.
Due to the depletion of natural aggregates and high maintenance cost of highway systems, developing sustainable asphalt concrete (AC) mixes that use waste materials instead of virgin raw materials is necessary. A large amount of waste glass material is globally generated per year that could be beneficial to sustain the asphalt industry. In this context, the present paper evaluates the properties and performance of AC mixtures that utilize crushed waste glass as a replacement material of filler aggregates. Three AC mixes with percentages of filler replacement in the range from 0%, 25%, to 50% were fabricated. Complex modulus testing was performed to evaluate the dynamic modulus |E*| and phase angle δ over a range of temperatures and loading frequencies. In addition, the flow number (FN) test was conducted to assess the rutting potential of the mixtures. The results showed that the mix containing 25% of crushed glass is likely to better resist fatigue cracking; however, the inclusion of glass in the AC reduced the rutting resistance compared to conventional hot mix asphalt (HMA). Finally, the results of the flow number test and the simple performance indicators were compared and used to rank the mechanical performance of the various mixtures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructure and Recycled Materials Sustainability)
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17 pages, 5139 KiB  
Article
Characterization of a Thermal Insulating Material Based on a Wheat Straw and Recycled Paper Cellulose to Be Applied in Buildings by Blowing Method
by Matías Soto, Carlos Rojas and Juan Pablo Cárdenas-Ramírez
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010058 - 21 Dec 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2523
Abstract
The thermal envelope is a key component of a building’s energy efficiency. Therefore, considerable efforts have been made to develop thermal insulating materials with a better performance than the existing products. However, in the current climate change scenario, these materials must be sustainable, [...] Read more.
The thermal envelope is a key component of a building’s energy efficiency. Therefore, considerable efforts have been made to develop thermal insulating materials with a better performance than the existing products. However, in the current climate change scenario, these materials must be sustainable, principally during their production stage. In this context, the use of recycled raw materials and agro-industrial waste can be the basis of a material with a low environmental impact and a good thermal performance. In this study, cellulose and wheat straw were characterized. Then, they were mixed in different proportions and densities and the best thermal behavior was selected. The materials were chemically analyzed by TAPPI 2007, thermogravimetric and infrared spectroscopy, together with the measurement of their thermal conductivity with a thermal property analyzer based on the transient line heat source method. The results show that both raw materials are chemically similar to each other. When mixed, they have a thermal conductivity ranging from 0.031 to 0.036 (W/mK), being comparable with several conventional thermal insulators. On the other hand, to achieve the commercial use of this material, an installation through a blowing process has been proposed and proves to be highly promising, achieving a proper density and efficiency in its application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructure and Recycled Materials Sustainability)
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17 pages, 4248 KiB  
Article
Life-Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Using Rock Dust as a Partial Replacement of Fine Aggregate and Cement in Concrete Pavements
by Yunpeng Zhao, Dimitrios Goulias, Magdalena Dobiszewska and Paweł Modrzyński
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12449; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912449 - 30 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2137
Abstract
The use of recycled materials and industrial by-products in pavement construction and rehabilitation can achieve substantial benefits in saving nature resources and reducing energy consumption as well as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Alternative geological origin rock dust for the partial replacement of fine [...] Read more.
The use of recycled materials and industrial by-products in pavement construction and rehabilitation can achieve substantial benefits in saving nature resources and reducing energy consumption as well as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Alternative geological origin rock dust for the partial replacement of fine aggregate and/or cement in Portland cement concrete (PCC) pavements may provide positive environmental and economic benefits. The objective of this study was to quantitatively assess the life-cycle economic and environmental impacts when rock dust is used in PCC pavement roadway construction. Previous studies have primarily focused on the economics and/or environmental impacts during the material production process. Thus, a methodological framework considering all stages (such as material production, transportation, construction, maintenance, rehabilitation and end of life), involved in the life-cycle assessment of concrete pavements is proposed when using recycled materials/by-products. The life-cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted on a pavement project representative of typical construction practices in Poland to quantify such benefits. The alternative sustainable construction strategies considered partially replacing fine aggregate and/or cement with rock dust of basalt origin in PCC pavements. The LCA results indicate that using rock dust to replace 20% FA and 10% cement provided a reduction of 6.5% in cost, 10% in CO2 emissions and 11% in energy consumption. This study also provides significant insights on the specific contribution of material production, construction processes and the transportation of materials to the overall environmental benefits and cost savings. The suggested approach for LCA analysis in pavement construction can be adopted elsewhere for quantifying the sustainability benefits of using alternative recycled materials in roadways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructure and Recycled Materials Sustainability)
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22 pages, 3314 KiB  
Article
Survival Analysis for Asphalt Pavement Performance and Assessment of Various Factors Affecting Fatigue Cracking Based on LTPP Data
by Ali A. Hatoum, Jamal M. Khatib, Firas Barraj and Adel Elkordi
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12408; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912408 - 29 Sep 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2436
Abstract
Pavement performance is the ability of pavement to remain in an acceptable condition to serve the intended users over a period of time. There are several principal, combined factors that affect flexible pavement performance such as environmental conditions, pavement materials, and traffic loads. [...] Read more.
Pavement performance is the ability of pavement to remain in an acceptable condition to serve the intended users over a period of time. There are several principal, combined factors that affect flexible pavement performance such as environmental conditions, pavement materials, and traffic loads. Vehicle overloading is considered one of the most significant causes of accelerating flexible pavement deterioration, reducing the pavement’s design life, and affecting the overall sustainability of the pavement system. Therefore, researchers are continuously examining pavement systems with a view to finding the most suitable solutions for sustainable development in road construction systems in order to reduce both costs and pollution. In this study, we present a framework to conduct nonparametric and parametric survival analysis for asphalt pavement test sections, to assess the influence of using reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) on fatigue service life, to indicate the most significant subset of risk factors (covariates), and to study the effect of overweight axles on flexible pavement performance. All the data concerned were extracted from the long-term pavement performance (LTPP) program. The Kaplan–Meier (KM) survival probability curves of multiple pavement distresses were developed to compare the failure probability for various distresses and to determine the median survival time for each distress. The fatigue survival curves for the test sections using RAP and virgin materials were developed separately and the equality of the two survival curves was tested and affirmed. Several parametric survival analyses were conducted to select the most significant subset of covariates. For fatigue cracking and, after dropping the insignificant predictors, a model was developed to show the quantitative relationship between fatigue failure time and potentially influential factors. The analysis indicated that the increase in the percentage of overloaded axles from 0% to 20% can reduce the fatigue survival life of flexible pavement by up to 55%. In the absence of overweight axles, a one-inch increase in asphalt layer thickness can extend the fatigue service life by about half a year. However, in the presence of 20% of overweight axles, a one-inch increase in thickness can extend the fatigue service life by only 0.22 years. Therefore, additional virgin materials and resources are needed to maintain traffic conditions in the road network and to compensate for the reduction in fatigue service life. Moreover, the effect of the increase in overweight axles from 0% to 15% on reducing the fatigue survival life is found to be similar to the effect of increasing the AADTT tenfold. Therefore, the sustainability of pavement is directly affected by the fatigue survival life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructure and Recycled Materials Sustainability)
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15 pages, 8461 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Characterization of Insulating Panels from Recycled Polylaminate (Tetra Pak) Materials
by Gregorio Bonocore and Pierantonio De Luca
Sustainability 2022, 14(11), 6858; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116858 - 3 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2252
Abstract
Eco-sustainability and the reuse of materials are highly topical issues. In fact, in recent years, much study and research has been developed on this aspect, making the eco-sustainability of materials a real need. Polylaminate containers, more commonly called Tetra Pak containers, represent the [...] Read more.
Eco-sustainability and the reuse of materials are highly topical issues. In fact, in recent years, much study and research has been developed on this aspect, making the eco-sustainability of materials a real need. Polylaminate containers, more commonly called Tetra Pak containers, represent the most used packaging in the world. This work proposes a new strategy for the reuse of discarded polylaminate containers in order to create panels that can be used in construction and in particular as insulating panels. The proposed thermal method has been optimized in terms of operating variables such as time, temperature, pressure, number of polylaminate sheets. The results obtained show that the proposed thermal method is suitable for obtaining panels with characteristics suitable for use in green building. The advantage of the thermal method is that it does not use chemical or other binders and moreover uses only and exclusively sheets of recycled polylaminate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructure and Recycled Materials Sustainability)
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