For several years universities in the United States have been looking into the feasibility of using asphalt pavement to collect solar energy, or, more correctly, to harvest the solar energy that asphalt pavement is already collecting. Researchers have found that the technology exists for harvesting this energy, and its implementation may not be that far off.
David A. Todd
A senior engineer and corporate trainer of engineering for CEI Engineering Associates, Inc. David has 36 years of experience as a consulting civil engineer. His experience includes water, wastewater, stormwater, roads, and solid waste infrastructure. For much of the last 20 years he has been involved with stormwater issues. Specifications and construction administration have been a specialty of his within civil consulting engineering . He has BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering, is a registered engineer in four states, and a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control.
“Assessing the conditions of the nation’s public schools remains a difficult process,” says the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in their 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure. The problem leading to this "D" grade seems to be funding. However, part of the problem is that we don’t know how much of a problem we have.
When finished, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will provide visitors with multi-faceted enjoyment. “The water features are intended to give an alternate experience to the art exhibits,” says Hugh Phillips, R.A., the project manager and a principal at Safdie Architects, the Museum’s architectural design firm. “We had the choice to keep the stream natural with its frequent low flow or to construct ponds and provide a larger body of water to make the water more significant.” Although both were good choices, given the natural beauty of this narrow valley about a mile northeast of downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, Safdie Architects elected to go with the larger water feature.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) includes Levees on its 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, giving them a D–. The category of "Levees" covers major flood control works. However, what about the water that causes the flooding that levees protect against? Throughout drainage basins comprising thousands of square miles, stormwater runoff makes its way downstream. Obviously some systems convey that stormwater and even control it. ASCE says nothing about these storm sewer systems, but they form a vital part of America's infrastructure.
Construction of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, located in Bentonville, Arkansas, has come far, far enough that the completion schedule has been finalized. Opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum has been set for November 11, 2011: the end of a long process is finally in sight. Construction began in 2006 and has progressed steadily. The project is complex, the site is challenging, and the buildings themselves have unusual features.
The list of street categories is long -- interstates, rural highways, minor arterial roads, collector streets, and neighborhood streets -- and the need to keep them in good repair and of adequate capacity for a seemingly insatiable need is huge. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) assigned the United States’ Roads Infrastructure a grade of “D-” on their 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Why? The report stresses safety (as measured by highway fatalities and injuries), congestion, and road condition. It also seems to be skewed toward the i–nterstate highway system and major urban areas. What about the endless miles of roads that provide a lower level of service?
Reduce, reuse, recycle. This is the simplest mantra of the environmental movement and the guiding principle for families and small programs across the nation. How does this principle apply to infrastructure, specifically asphalt pavement? We already use as little asphalt pavement as we can, but this is more an economic decision. We recycle asphalt pavement to build new pavement. We reuse it as clean fill. What else can we do with it? Can we use it to collect solar energy?
Due diligence. In different segments of the AEC industry, these words mean different things, but they boil down to this: Do your homework before you plan, design, or build. In the matter of building codes, due diligence can mean the difference between a successful inspection or a rejection, between obtaining occupancy on schedule and experiencing a delay.
A once quiet valley, about a half mile northeast of downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, is the scene of intense construction. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, designed by Moshe Safdie, has arisen from the ground, and its buildings are taking shape. Once complete, the museum will become a major tourist attraction in northwest Arkansas.
Ninety-nine percent of construction work is completed within the allotted time. Getting a project closed out -- the other one percent -- seems to take just as much time. Why does this process take so long? A seemingly endless series of punch list and paperwork items must be completed before the project can be considered complete.