Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chicago Seeks Urban Sustainability

From Sustainable Business.com

The greening of a "street" may not sound like much, but a two-mile stretch of a road in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood is being lauded as the greenest street in America – as an example of how cities can use sustainable design principles to improve the urban ecosystem.  

The street is the first to use an innovative new roadway material called photocatalytic cement. UV light is absorbed by the material - it keeps the surface clean and it removes nitrogen oxide from the surrounding air.

The streetscape also includes Chicago's first permanent wind/solar powered pedestrian lights and LED light poles – just two of the features that helped reduce energy consumption associated with the redesign by 42%.

Just as significant - the materials and design are important for an under-appreciated but very important purpose - stormwater management - the source of much of the pollution from city streets entering streams, bays and other nearby water. As much as 80% of average annual rainfall from the sewer system is diverted from waterways through a combination of bioswales, rain gardens and permeable pavements.

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