Athena Sustainable Materials Institute Launches New Impact Estimator for Highways

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The latest addition to Athena’s suite of environmental assessment tools provides quick and easy Life Cycle Assessment results for Canadian roadways.

The Athena Sustainable Materials Institute today announced the availability of the Athena Impact Estimator for Highways, its newest infrastructure assessment software. The life cycle based environmental assessment software is available as a free download from the Athena website (click here).

Designed to allow transportation engineers and roadway designers to easily measure the environmental impact of Canadian regional roadway designs, the Impact Estimator provides environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) results for the materials manufacturing, roadway construction, and maintenance life cycle stages.

Users can create custom roadway designs or draw from a library of 50 existing roadway designs. The software includes a large equipment and materials database and the flexibility to specify unique pavement systems – sub-base and base granular materials as well as hot and warm mix asphalt, and a host of user specified concrete mix designs.

Users can also input use-phase operating energy and apply built-in pavement vehicle interaction algorithms, if desired, to be included in the final LCA results.

The software allows for quick and easy comparisons of multiple design options over a range of expected roadway lifespans.

An overview of the software is available here and a more detailed users' guide can be found here.

Development of the Athena Impact Estimator for Highways was made possible through support from the the Cement Association of Canada and Athena Institute members. An earlier software prototype and beta version was developed in association with transportation engineers at Morrison Hershfield and was funded by Environment Canada.

The Athena Institute and the Cement Association of Canada will host free one-hour tutorial webinars on May 23, June 20 and September 20, 2013, so that transportation engineers and roadway designers can quickly familiarize themselves with the software’s unique features and capabilities.

The Athena Sustainable Materials Institute is a non-profit research group bringing tools and data to the construction sector for the next generation of “green.” Since 1997, the Athena Institute has focused on quantification of sustainability in design. We work with leading edge architects, engineers, building owners and material manufacturers to measure the real environmental impact of buildings, infrastructure and construction materials using life cycle assessment (LCA). The only North American organization dedicated to construction-sector LCA, the Athena Institute develops and maintains a large LCA database for construction materials and provides the LCA-based Impact Estimator and EcoCalculator software tools to building and roadway designers. Contact us to learn more about LCA in design practice, get our tools, join our mailing list or support us in our work to advance the tools and the construction databases.

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