Estimating Emissions for Highway Construction Projects

Institution: Michigan Technological University
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Why This Project Is Important 

The construction sector generates over 130 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from building and rehabilitating highway infrastructure every year. As the challenges posed by climate change mount, many local and state—and even federal—governments are considering strategies to reduce emissions. Developing an emissions estimator will help transportation agencies assess, benchmark, and reduce the emissions of highway construction.

Project Description 

The Project Emission Estimator (PE-2) is a web-based emissions estimating tool that can be used to model and predict life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for highway construction. The tool ensures that all environmental burdens associated with each phase of a project—from materials selection to construction to maintenance—are accounted for and the most crucial impacts are identified for mitigation. In an effort to curb environmental impacts, the state of California has mandated a reduction in GHG emissions of highway construction operations, and there have been similar efforts at the federal level. With an increasingly large emphasis being placed on sustainability, it is imperative that engineers have access to even more data than what PE-2 currently offers. The International Standards Organization has developed the general principles and guidelines necessary for conducting a life cycle analysis, which has allowed PE-2 to be based on data collected directly from construction sites. Thanks to PE-2's web-based platform, the data is easily accessible and empowers decision-makers with its real-world database of emissions information. The initial prototype of PE-2 was developed using funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation. Since its introduction in 2011, PE-2 has been featured in industry magazines and publications—and has been well received in peer-reviewed literature. Additional funding is sought to further develop the tool so that contractors can customize it for use with their construction projects. This will help them securely store their construction-material and equipment data while taking advantage of the emissions data that was previously developed within the PE-2 tool—increasing both confidence in and use of the tool.

Meet the Researcher

Amlan Mukherjee

Dr.Mukherjee's interests are in the areas of Construction Management and Transportation Infrastructure Management Systems. He is currently teaching a course in Construction Estimation, Planning and Control. His research interests lie in developing interactive and adaptive process simulation platforms that can be used as decision making aids, in training decision makers and also to better understand human cognitive and decision-making processes in construction. The broader goal of the research is to study the construction management (CM) domain as a tightly coupled system of human and resource interactions and to integrate it with existing construction theories to develop a systemic perspective of the complexities in the CM domain. Dr.Mukherjee is also interested in Engineering Education research.

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What Your Donation Can Help Us Do: 

  • Further develop the PE-2 estimator
  • Fund programmers and engineering students in extending the current PE-2 interface
  • Develop webinars to train new system users
Although there are no rewards for this project, all donors will receive an email receipt with tax-deduction information.

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