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Envision ™ is a new rating system designed to promote sustainable infrastructure in the United States. SEH staff have been involved in helping shape this new tool over the past couple years. This post provides background on the tool and its intended use.
When it comes to infrastructure development, what we plan for, design and build today will literally shape our communities for decades to come. As the demand for water, food, and all types of resources continues to accelerate worldwide, wise infrastructure investments are becoming even more critical than in the past. The room for error has shrunken in terms of how we design our communities and the impact that has on the world around us. For example, as long term changes in climate create more erratic weather patterns engineers, architects, planners, and scientists must do a better job of anticipating those changes and designing more resilient communities.
Recently three key organizations that help shape the built environment came together to tackle this challenge. The American Public Works Association (APWA), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) joined forces to form a non-profit, the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). One of ISI’s first projects is development of a new tool called “Envision” ™ - which is intended to aid infrastructure decision making and provide recognition for projects.
Scope and Breadth
Envision™ is somewhat similar to the LEED system, developed by the US Green Building Council. Unlike LEED, the tool is not designed to cover buildings, rather it is designed to cover all types of infrastructure outside the building envelope. For example, the tool is intended to be used for transportation, water, wastewater, energy, and all other major types of infrastructure which exist besides buildings. The tool is intended to address the full range, or life cycle, of infrastructure including planning, design, construction, operations, de-commissioning, and re-use considerations. Envision is divided into the following categories:
Each category is further brokend down into sub-categories, shown in italices above. Each subcategory, in turn, contains a series of credits (there are 60 in total). Each credit provides evaluation criteria which are used to assess a project's design (or construction, operation, etc...). Projects are evaluated against the credits in order to determine a level of achievement, which range from “improved” to “enhanced” to “superior” to conserving to “restorative.” The questions below illustrate the types of sustainability related issues and opportunities Envision TM incorporates in order to promote sustainable infrastructure.
Quality of Life
Climate and Risk
For more information on this topic contact:
Community Development & Sustainability