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The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure continues to develop and refine the Envision rating system.  Part of the refinement includes the development of the development of a business case evaluator tool.  ISI is seeking feedback on an Envision economic companion tool for stormwater.


Economic factors are an essential component of sustainable infrastructure, along with environmental and social considerations. The business case for sustainable infrastructure goes beyond a return on investment: it also includes infrastructure effectiveness, costs, reliability, and livability. These factors contribute to how communities perceive these infrastructure projects which in turn has a real dollar value associated with it.


This Envision Economic tool, called the Business Case Evaluator, is being developed by Impact Infrastructure, LLC, which is a Charter Member of ISI. The Business Case Evaluator (BCE) provides a value-based and risk-adjusted analysis of stormwater infrastructure projects and maps these to the Envision credits. Once it is finalized based on public input, the BCE will be offered at no cost through the ISI website.


There are several economic tools that are being developed in parallel in different agencies, companies, and research organizations that fill the unique needs of different infrastructure sectors and geographic locations. ISI encourages the development of these tools and will continue to provide an opportunity for public feedback to strengthen the metrics and tools that will be made publically available.


The Business Case Evaluator for Stormwater Management, user manual and documentation can be found at sustainableinfrastructure.org/tools/stormwater/index.cfm.


Please send your comments to ISI by October 17th.  ISI has provided an online comment form for you to use. 




APWA Center for Sustainability Leadership Group member Michael Simpson, Senior Environmental Engineer, City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, has a story to tell.  So does Jenifer Willer, P.E., City of Eugene, Oregon Department of Public Works.   Both Jenifer and Michael have written case studies describing projects that demonstrate sustainability in public works. 


In the Humboldt Stormwater Greenway Project, the City of Los Angeles worked to daylight an existing storm drain system and constructing a stormwater  greenway with a “stream’ ecosystem.  The project constructed an above ground detention basin for temporary runoff storage in order to capture, infiltrate and remove pollutants from dry-weather runoff and limited stormwater flows from approximately 3.5 acres of adjacent ands, thereby improving the downstream water quality of Los Angeles River receiving waters.  The projects resulted in positive impact upon the natural environment and improved the delivery of services and enhanced the local infrastructure. 


The City of Eugene has implemented a variety of construction methods to maximize the sustainability practices in pavement preservation.  The three primary construction technologies the city uses reduce environmental impacts, increases the use of reclaimed asphalt binder materials and in-place recycling v. traditional street reconstruction.  The incorporation of these methods of construction have shown positive results in environmental, economic, social and health benefits to the community.  These projects create jobs, leverage city funds, and address pavement preservation backlogs while also providing public education opportunities, creating safe public facilities and improving overall community livability. 


The APWA Center for Sustainability is would like more stories like this to share with other APWA members.  The Center would like to highlight sustainable public works and infrastructure projects, programs and local initiatives so that we can build a collection of useful resources. 


The Center for Sustainability defines sustainability in public works as “seeking a balanced approach for a vibrant community today and tomorrow, and it is accomplished by the efficient delivery of infrastructure in an environmentally and socially responsible way that ensures the best economic choice in the long term.

We are seeking case studies on a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to:

  • Communications and stakeholder engagement
  • Making the case for sustainability to your elected officials
  • Recognizing a sustainability champion on your team
  • Budgeting/ finance issues
  • Transportation/ Transit
  • Water
  • Fleet
  • Facilities and Grounds
  • Small cities and Rural communities
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Leadership and Management
  • Solid Waste/ Recycling
  • Others topics that you want to share!


We have created a template for you to follow-- http://www.apwa.net/DR/index.asp?ID=1726.  

Please keep the case studies as brief as you can while still providing robust information.  Pictures, graphics and other images always add to the presentation.  


The Center for Sustainability will publish these case studies on the APWA website and make them accessible to everyone.  This is a great way to tout your own success, share learning experiences and advice, and connect with other public works professionals working to create sustainable communities. 

Thank you and if you have any questions please contact Julia Anastasio at janastasio@apwa.net




[This post is an update to Nov. 4, 2013 post "Do you have a story to tell?"]

The Center for Sustainability has received several informative and interesting case studies from across the country that demonstrates the benefits of incorporating sustainability into public works operations.  We are still collecting case studies and posting them on the Center for Sustainability’s webpages.  Consider sharing your sustainability story with your APWA colleagues today. 



Charlotte Old City Hall Renovation Case Study

The City of Charlotte’s Old City Hall, built in 1925, was energy‐inefficient and a challenge to maintain comfortable working conditions prior to extensive energy renovations. The work, funded by an Energy Efficiency & Conversation Block Grant, decreased building energy consumption by 43%, made the facility much more pleasant to work in, easier to control for maintenance staff and garnered EPA ENERGY STAR designation. Replacement of the control systems, major HVAC renovations, and interior lighting retrofits maximized energy savings and staff efficiencies. These renovations were carefully implemented while preserving the historical integrity of a facility listed in the Historic Landmarks Commission.


Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Steele Creek Division Station

The new Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Steele Creek Division Station opened in September, 2012. The 12,500 square foot facility, housing more than 100 personnel, was designed and constructed under the City of Charlotte’s Policy for Sustainable City Facilities, ensuring sustainable design features. These included insulated concrete foam walls, closed‐loop geothermal heating and cooling system, water‐efficient fixtures, landscaping not requiring irrigation, day lighting technologies, white roof and preliminary set‐up for building integrated photovoltaic. Green space exceeded requirements by 25%, with 53% of construction waste diverted from landfills. CMPD Steele Creek Division earned LEED Gold, with energy use 39% below baseline.


Pavement Sustainability Case Study – City of Arlington, Texas

The Public Works & Transportation Department for the City of Arlington, Texas published a case study that analyzes the changes they made to their maintenance plan for streets and roads in the city. The department’s goal was to revise their current plan to address the rising number of streets and roads that did not meet minimum overall condition index or OCI.


City of Gainesville Credit Basin Project 

The City of Gainesville’s Credit Basin Program is designed to recuperate capital costs associated with the purchase of land for master stormwater facilities. The City of Gainesville, in collaboration with the St. Johns River Water Management District, initiated the credit basin program in 2002. The program was created to facilitate redevelopment of properties within the City’s urban core, where land area is at a premium and thus on-site water quality treatment was an impediment to redevelopment. 


Urban Drainage and Flood Control District: Sustainability on a Large Scale – Denver Metropolitan Area 

In 1965, the Denver metropolitan area was hit with a devastating flood on the South Platte River. Following the flood, an organization of county engineers began meeting to find ways to address drainage problems that crossed jurisdictional boundaries. In 1969, the Colorado General Assembly passed the Urban Drainage and Flood Control Act. The legislation established the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District for the purpose of assisting local governments in the Denver metropolitan area with multi-jurisdictional drainage and flood control problems. The District operates four programs: Master Planning; Floodplain Management; Design, Construction and Maintenance; and Information Services and Flood Warning. The District Board made a commitment to develop a comprehensive floodplain management program to prevent new problems from being created by new development, while “fixing” existing problems. Since 1969 the population of the District has tripled, and yet there are 5000 fewer structures in mapped 100-year floodplains.