T.F. Green Airport Runway 5 Extension Receives Country’s First Envision Gold Award for Airfield Project

Envision Rating SystemThe Runway 5 Extension at T.F. Green Airport (PVD) has received the Envision Gold award through the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), which recognizes sustainability achievements across the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts. Operated by the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC), the project is both the first airfield project and the first ever in the state of Rhode Island to receive an Envision award. Overall, it is the 16th project to receive an Envision award.

The lengthening of Green’s main runway, 5-23, to 8,700 feet is part of a multi-year airport improvement program to accommodate aviation activity demand and enhance the safety areas around Runway 16-34. The extension is designed to improve efficiency of existing and new flights through increased payloads and reduced weight penalties, as well as accommodate long-haul service to the west coast. The project recently began construction and is expected to conclude by December of 2017. Sustainability was identified as a main objective at the onset of design, which was led by C&S Companies.

Runway extension construction

Runway extension construction

“Consistent with [RIAC’s] efforts to provide a world class airport facility for the traveling public, it simultaneously strives to utilize environmentally sensitive and sustainable practices for the benefit of its host community and state,” said Peter Frazier, Interim President and CEO of RIAC. “Our willingness to be a leader in such initiatives can only be achieved if we partner with design and engineering firms like C&S Companies that possess this cutting edge expertise.”

This effort began with an integrated sustainability charrette led by C&S and involving a cross-section of RIAC representatives. Participants worked together to identify sustainability priorities as well as the unique challenges and opportunities related to the Runway 5 Extension. Potential sustainability initiatives were generated and assessed to provide informed recommendations that would contribute to RIAC’s objectives and the project’s success – both in construction and in the long term. The charrette set the foundation for collaboration and holistic thinking: “I was incredibly impressed by the level of RIAC engagement. Broadening the definition of sustainability beyond environmental stewardship, stressing the need for balance with economic goals, operational efficiency, and consideration of the various stakeholders helped us connect each individual to their potential influence on the project,” says C&S’s Carly Shannon. “The insight we received both on that day and during the follow-on design was invaluable to achieving the right project for T.F. Green Airport.”

As Green’s main runway, RIAC recognized the importance of balancing first-time costs with continued durability, resilience, operational efficiency and environmental stewardship. This progressive outlook and RIAC’s commitment to the surrounding community led to the decision to embrace the Envision rating system, apply its guidance, and pursue an award. A sampling of the Envision rating system categories with the highest scores for the Runway 5 Extension project at T.F. Green Airport is provided below:

Quality of Life (QL): In addition to the significant benefits the project offers to the local economy through job creation and by expanding accessibility to the region, RIAC and the project team have undertaken numerous efforts to invest in the local human capital. Partnerships have been established with local schools and educational institutions, and the construction manager has engaged several job shadows to help local students learn about the opportunities that exist within aviation. Given the existing and projected shortage of aviation professionals across the country, this will not only be impactful to the workforce around Providence (who will be more equipped to meet a major career need at the Airport) but will also fill a broader void within the industry.

Another major contributor to quality of life is the project’s restoration of an existing, historic resource. RIAC went above and beyond the mitigation measures outlined in the environmental document’s Record of Decision for addressing a cemetery that exists within the project area. After valuable coordination and outreach among the project team, RIAC, and the affected agencies, the existing headstones are being relocated to a new location with similar accessibility and treated with the addition of an interpretive panel. Granite markers are being placed where the internments will remain.

Resource Allocation (RA): During the sustainability charrette at the onset of design, participants identified resource conservation, specifically of energy and materials, and the reduction of maintenance and operating costs as major priorities. The project team and RIAC collaborated to identify the most efficient measures for achieving these objectives. Having the unique perspectives of the organization involved in this discussion was crucial to determining the right solutions. One such solution involved a reevaluation of the project scope, which revealed that certain elements were not necessary to the operational efficiency of the airfield. As a result of this dialogue and follow-on efforts, a proposed hold bay (which is a pavement area near the end of the runway for use by aircraft waiting to take off) and a taxiway connector were omitted from the project scope, resulting in cost savings both initially and in the long term related to continued maintenance of those pavement areas and the operational costs associated with lighting and signage. Combined with the use of LEDs, these efforts to minimize scope will result in a 34% energy reduction. The reduction in pavement also provided benefits to many of the Natural World (NW) credits such as Managing Stormwater due to the reduction of impervious surfaces.


Final Project Scope

In addition to reducing the need for virgin materials, all suitable, excavated materials from the project and previous projects at the Airport are being reused for embankment, subgrade or other purposes. Pavement millings are also being used in a blended subbase material. In order to address construction waste, a Construction Waste Management Specification was established that requires the contractor to prepare a Waste Management Plan, track and report on these activities, and achieve a diversion target. This will promote waste minimization, reuse, and recycling thus minimizing the amount of waste ending up in landfills.

Concrete foundations are being crushed into gravel and re-used on another PVD project.

Concrete foundations are being crushed into gravel and re-used on another PVD project.

Climate and Risk (CR): The Runway 5 Extension and its related systems were designed to be resilient and adaptive to changes under altered climate conditions. Due to the runway system’s need to remain operational at all times and avoid disruptions to aircraft activities that can have major economic impacts, the team evaluated the existing lighting cables and determined that replacement will increase the resilience of the project. The runway extension by its nature will also allow PVD to adapt to changing conditions since aircraft will be able to continue operations during increasingly frequent and more intense heat waves (aircraft require additional runway length to take off at higher temperatures).

Beyond the efforts documented above, the project team and RIAC engaged the contractor to ensure that construction activities minimize potential impacts. One such effort relates to construction waste management.


Construction waste management in practice. Approach lighting stanchions will be salvaged, painted and re-used on another project.

See for information regarding PVD’s ongoing program.

For additional details, please contact Matt Wenham or Carly Shannon of C&S at (877) CS-SOLVE.


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