Hannah Thomazin, Project Engineer on U.S. Engineering Construction’s Virtual Construction team, recently co-authored a paper in Sustainability, a peer-reviewed journal that explores the environmental, cultural, economic and social sustainability of human beings. The article, “Advancing Pervious Pavements through Nomenclature, Standards and Holistic Green Design,” appeared in a special issue of Sustainability titled “Sustainable Pavement Materials and Technology,” published in September 2020.
Co-authored by Charles E. Sprouse III (Associate Professor, Benedictine College), Conrad Hoover, and Olivia Obritsch, the article examines the field of pervious, or porous, pavements, recognizing the environmental and financial benefits the materials offer (for example, their adherence to LEED standards) and asking why they aren’t more widely used in construction. According to the authors, three areas that limit more widespread use are conflicting nomenclature, flawed testing standards, and the absence of a holistic green design framework. In the article Thomazin and her colleagues investigate each challenge and offer solutions.
“Advancing Pervious Pavements” originated as a final project for a class focusing on Environmental Stewardship. “My main role,” Thomazin explains, “was to research terminology and standards and draft the first revision of that section.” On how her experience with publication relates to her current work at U.S. Engineering, Thomazin notes, “In the research phase of the article, it was important to be able to search for, read and understand scientific articles and relate them back to what my team was working on. As a project engineer, I’m doing something similar: I am analyzing and understanding the different areas of the project by reading through submittals, specifications or drawings and am able to answer questions that people on the team have.”
One of the interesting aspects of researching and writing for an academic publication, Thomazin says, was the breadth of sources, which numbered over 70 in this paper. In addition to analyzing the scientific sources of pervious pavements, she and her team studied the ethics of such construction: “One of my favorite sources was Pope Francis’ Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. Benedictine College [where I attended] is a Catholic college, and it was cool to tie in that little piece of faith to our paper. Laudato Si related back to the holistic framework aspect of the paper, and Pope Francis’ message revolves around the need to care for all creation and that scientific research on the environment needs to be praised and used.”
Thomazin joined U.S. Engineering Construction this fall after interning with the company in 2019 and 2020, gaining experience from the Kansas City International (KCI) airport and Menorah Hospital projects. She graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Benedictine College in 2020 where she lettered in volleyball in all four years at the school. Currently, with U.S. Engineering Construction’s virtual construction team, she’s focusing on the Greeley West High School, KCI and Trinity Hospital projects, helping build out the database that feeds BIM models.