19
OCT
5

APWA, along with several partners including the National Leagues of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the International City/County Management Association, and lead by the National Association of regional Councils, are pleased to share with you a new livability resources, Livability Literature Review: A synthesis of Current Best Practices.  This new comprehensive report describes how livability is understood, provides examples of livable communities in practice and adds context and clarity to several livability concepts.  The new report will help you better understand the resources available to create sustainable and livable communities. 

 

In June 2009, the Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined together to form the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities.  The Interagency Partnership developed Six Livability Principles to guide its work.  The six livability principles are:

 

(1) Provide more transportation choices.

(2) Promote equitable, affordable housing.

(3) Enhance economic competitiveness.

(4) Support existing communities.

(5) Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment. And

(6) Enhance communities and neighborhoods.

 

 

NARC convened APWA and tis other partners through a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration to identify and disseminate tools and practices that local governments can use as to bring sustainability and livability to their communities.  The final project will build upon the report released today by providing replicable case studies and tools for planners, local elected officials and public works professionals interested in creating livability programs in your communities. 

 

In order to add to our knowledge and the usefulness of this project we are seeking additional case studies from you.  We are looking for case studies that showcase the work that you are doing to help create sustainable and livable communities.  Consider submitting your case study today.  Submitting is easy – we’ve create a simple case study survey form for you to fill out!  Check it out today!

15
JAN
0

Are you looking for a way to demonstrate the sustainability of the projects you are working on?

 

A growing number of executives at leading global infrastructure consulting and engineering firms believe that the key to sustainability, which includes balancing the need for economic development with the imperative to use resources prudently, goes well beyond buildings and must include surrounding infrastructure – power, transportation, building campuses, telecommunications, waste and water and wastewater, and all elements must be integrated. A growing number of these profession­als also believe that it is necessary to develop a sustainability rating system for infra­structure, modeled on LEED and based on agreed-upon, and in many cases, quantifi­able metrics.  Such a system would provide a consensus-based measure of how localities are doing in bringing sustainability to their communities, as well as provide a clear yard­stick for achievement by infrastructure de­velopers, who increasingly need to justify their capital investments to stakeholders on the basis clear criteria.   The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) and the Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system was developed just for this purpose.

The Environmental Business Journal November 10, 2012 article details how ISI has developed and is expanding on the Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system, which does just that. To read all about it, use the link (http://ebionline.org/excerpts/1543-zofnass-project-combines-with-isi-to-generate-metrics-for-sustainable-infrastructure) to access the full article and visit their website.  Provided courtesy of Environmental Business Journal. Click here to learn more about the Consulting & Engineering 2013 edition of Environmental Business Journal and to review all EBJ back issues, go to http://www.ebionline.org/ebj-issues.

 

 

 

17
JUN
0

ISI logo

If you are seeking a way to become familiar with the EnvisionTM Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System, then you should check out the EnvisionTM Checklist.   

 

The Envision™ Checklist is an educational tool that helps users become familiar with the sustainability aspects of infrastructure project design. It can be used as a stand-alone assessment to quickly compare project alternatives or to prepare for a more detailed assessment.

The Envision™ Checklist is structured as a series of Yes/No questions based on the Envision™ rating system. It organized into five categories and fourteen subcategories. Every infrastructure project has an important impact on all five Envision™ categories.

 

Envision™ provides a holistic framework for evaluating and rating the community, environmental, and economic benefits of all types and sizes of infrastructure projects. It evaluates, grades, and gives recognition to infrastructure projects that use transformational, collaborative approaches to assess the sustainability indicators over the course of the project's life cycle.  Envision™ can be used by infrastructure owners, design teams, community groups, environmental organizations, constructors, regulators, and policy makers to:

 

  • Meet sustainability goals.
  • Be publicly recognized for high levels of achievement in sustainability.
  • Help communities and project teams to collaborate and discuss, "Are we doing the right project?" and, "Are we doing the project right?".
  • Make decisions about the investment of scarce resources.
  • Include community priorities in civil infrastructure projects.

 

The Envision™ tools help the project design team:

 

  • Assess costs and benefits over the project lifecycle.
  • Evaluate environmental benefits.
  • Use outcome-based objectives.
  • Reach higher levels of sustainability achievement.

 

Envision™ has assessment tools that can be used for infrastructure projects of all types, sizes, complexities, and locations.

 

If you have used the Checklist we would love to hear about your expierences with it.  You can either post a comment to this blog explaining your expierences using the Checklist or you can email Julia Anastasio at janastasio@apwa.net.

15
MAY
0

The White House May 6 released the third National Climate Change Assessment (NCA) documenting the impact climate change has on the United States. The current report is a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The President’s Climate Action Plan is the Obama Administration’s strategic initiative to cut carbon pollution; prepare the US for the impacts of climate change; and lead international efforts to combat global climate change.

 

The NCA states that climate change is having wide ranging environmental impacts on all regions of the United States.  The report also states that climate change will have impacts on key sectors of society and the US economy.  The effects of climate change, documented by the NCA include heat waves, storm surges and extreme precipitation in the Northeast; increased risk of droughts and wild fires in the Southwest; and receding summer sea ice and shrinking glaciers off of the coast of Alaska.  The report also states that climate change’s impact on health and the economy include decreased air quality and decreased agricultural output.  The NCA states that adapting strategies that encourage conservation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions can mitigate the effects of climate change and increase community resiliency.

 

The NCA is a requirement of the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (GCRA).  The GCRA requires a report to the President and Congress every four years.  The first NCA was released in 2000 and the second was released in 2009.  The federal government is responsible for producing these reports through the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a collaboration of 13 federal agencies and departments, and must be approved by the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC).  NCADAC is a 60-person U.S. Federal Advisory Committee which oversees the development of the NCA.  NCADAC was established in 2010 and is supported through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 

To learn more about the National Climate Change Assessment and to read the full report, visit www.globalchange.gov

27
MAY
0

The APWA Center for Sustainability is pleased to announce that the APWA Sustainability Conference is now a part of the APWA Public Works International Congress and Exposition and will feature over 40 sessions on environmental/sustainability issues as part of your Conference registration. 

 

APWA Center for Sustainability Chair Jennifer Winter, Project Director, HR Green INC, noted “this move is reflective of the fact that sustainability traverses all areas of public works -- water, roads, transportation, parks, asset management, emergency management -- and should be presented to broadest possible audience of public works professionals.  These sessions are being presented by a variety of APWA Technical Committees and seasoned professionals from both sides of the border and reveals the breadth of the role that sustainability plays in our infrastructure, communities, and in in our chosen profession.”

 

The Center for Sustainability knows you won’t want to miss this “conference-within-a-conference” if you have an interest in the most sustainable approaches to public works.  Register today!

02
JUN
0

On June 2, the Environmental Protection Agency released their Clean Power Plan proposal. This proposal aims to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants, the largest sources of carbon pollution in the United States.  Power plants are responsible for approximately one-third of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.  This proposed rule will amend the existing Clean Air Act and marks the first time that carbon pollution from power plants has been regulated at a federal level.

 

The Clean Power Plan aims to cut carbon emissions nationwide from existing power plants by thirty percent below 2005 levels by 2030. According to EPA’s proposal, this reduction in carbon pollution will also result in reducing particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 25 percent.

 

EPA will implement the Clean Power Plan through a state-federal partnership. States will have until June 2016 to create and submit a plan to EPA to comply with the new proposal.  Many states have already adopted energy efficiency/ renewable energy (EE/RE) programs to encourage energy conservation and reduce the amount of emissions produced by energy production.  The Clean Power Plan gives states the flexibility to build upon these existing conservation plans or create new ones to meet the Plan’s new pollution limits. States will have the option of partnering with nearby states to create programs that will comply with the new proposal. States will also have the flexibility to set differing pollution limits and use a variety of methods to meet the plans goals, as long as it doesn’t affect the nationwide limit.

 

The EPA is expected to finalize the rule next summer. After the rule is published in the Federal Register, interested stakeholders have 120 days to comment on the proposal.

 

This proposal is part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The President’s Climate Action Plan is the Obama Administration’s strategic initiative to cut carbon pollution; prepare the US for the impacts of climate change; and lead international efforts to combat global climate change.

04
JUN
0

The National Resources Conservation Service (NCRS) under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting applications to the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  The RCPP competitively awards funds to conservation projects created and managed by partnerships between eligible entities. Farms and other agricultural entities, through their use of fertilizers, are often the source of nutrient pollution in nearby water sources. The RCPP encourages farmers to partner with non-agricultural entities, such as wastewater utilities and municipal storm water agencies, to use available resources to reduce nutrient runoff pollution.  The RCPP is beneficial to the environment and the economy because it allows for the treatment of water pollution at the source. When farmers work with wastewater utilities to treat water before runoff flows to municipal water sources, municipalities can save money in water treatment and pass those savings along to rate payers.

 

The USDA, with participating partners, is funding the RCPP at $2.4 billion over the next five years. The USDA will provide $400 million in funding during this first year of the program. There will be three different funding pools for applicants to choose from: the national funding pool, the state funding pool, and the critical conservation area (CCA) funding pool. Projects that only deal with one state will be eligible for state funding; while projects covering multiple states will be eligible for national funding. Only projects that are located in the critical conservation areas, recently designated by the Secretary of Agriculture, will be eligible for CCA funding.  These areas are the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the Great Lakes Region, the Mississippi River Basin, the Colorado River Basin, the Longleaf Pine Range, the Columbia River Basin, the Prairie Grasslands Region, and the California Bay Delta. State projects will receive 25 percent of the funding; national projects will receive 35 percent of the funding and CCA projects will receive 40 percent of the funding.

 

State and local governments, municipal water treatment entities and water and irrigation districts are among the entities that are eligible to participate in the RCPP. The deadline for application submissions is July 14, 2014. Many state and local agencies targeted by the RCPP are new to conservation programs run by the NRCS. To learn more about the RCPP and how to create a winning application, you can participate in USDA’s online information sessions. Two online sessions will be offered. The first one will be at 2PM EST on Monday, June 9 and the next one will be at 11AM EST on Wednesday, June 11. There will also be an in person information session at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC on Friday, June 6 at 11AM EST.  

 

Click here to learn more about and RSVP for the USDA information sessions.

 

Click here to view the official grant announcement.

 

Click here to learn more about the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. 

06
OCT
0

The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) recently awarded two regional infrastructure projects separate levels of distinction within the Envision rating system.  The Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) of North Central Texas earned the Envision™ sustainable infrastructure rating system’s Silver award for their Line J, Section 1 Pipeline project. The Sun Valley Watershed Multi-Benefit Project in Los Angeles County, CA, has earned the system’s Platinum award which is the highest level attainable in the Envision system.

 

The Tarrant pipeline was designed by Freese and Nichols, Inc., a charter member of ISI. ISI President and CEO, William Bertera, presented the award to the Tarrant Regional Water District on September 23, 2014. The Envision Silver award-winning project is a two mile, 108-inch diameter pipeline delivering water from the Kennedale Balancing Reservoir directly to the Arlington Outlet, dedicating a significant amount of water demand from the existing pipelines, and allowing the District to meet future demands at the Rolling Hills Water  Treatment line, and locations further west.

 

The Sun Valley Watershed Project manages storm water for the Sun Valley Watershed in Los Angeles County. It provides flood protection, improves watershed health, increases open space and recreational opportunities, and improves wildlife habitat. The project received 67% of the Department’s applicable Envision credits; the most any project has received to date from the Envision infrastructure rating system. It consists of several completed components including Tuxford Green, Sun Valley Park Drain and Infiltration System, Elmer Avenue Neighborhood Retrofit, and the Elmer Avenue Paseo. Other components include the Rory M. Shaw Wetlands Park and the Sun Valley Watershed Upper Storm Drain System and Recycled Water Line, which are in the final design stage. The Valley Steam Plant and the Whitnall Powerline Easement components are in the conceptual design stage.

 

For more information on the Tarrant Pipeline, click here. For more information on the Sun Valley Watershed Project, click here.

10
DEC
0
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization that launched the Envision™ sustainable infrastructure rating system for public and private owners, and Skanska, one of the largest construction and development companies in the country, announced a new U.S. partnership. 
 
“ISI welcomes this new partnership with Skanska, a company with organizational commitment to promote sustainable infrastructure in healthy, thriving communities,” said ISI President and CEO, Bill Bertera.
With the partnership, Skanska has committed to aligning the delivery of heavy infrastructure civil projects with efforts to ensure the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the communities where they are built. Skanska’s Chief Sustainability Officer Beth Heider will work with the ISI Board of Directors, and Skanska USA Civil Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety Paul Haining, as well as Skanska’s National Safety Health and Environmental Management System (SHEMS) Director Nicholas Bishop, will both provide technical expertise to spread the adoption of the ISI Envision™ rating system within their areas of responsibility in construction, civil infrastructure, public-private partnerships, and commercial development initiatives.
“Partnering with ISI to promote sustainable infrastructure is a way to reinforce Skanska’s view that construction ultimately should contribute to healthy, thriving communities,” said incoming Skanska USA President and CEO Richard Cavallaro. “Our support of ISI and Envision is a way to declare that no matter what you are building – from a hospital to the highway that gets you there – it can be built green.”
 
Within the new partnership, ISI has agreed to provide opportunities for all Skanska employees to receive training and credentialing in the Envision Sustainability Professionals (ENV SPs) credentialing program. When credentialed, these employees will be able to document and rate sustainability aspects of infrastructure projects in collaboration with ISI’s Envision infrastructure rating system. With the Envision credentialing effort, Skanska will continue its commitment to embed sustainability throughout its infrastructure practices.
“Each ENV SP works as an integral part of a project team with civil engineers, environmental engineers, infrastructure planners, construction managers, architects, transportation professionals, public policy leaders, public works professionals, and other stakeholders to achieve the highest level of sustainability for their infrastructure projects,” said Bertera.
 
“Communities are facing new challenges arising from environmental regulations, ever more scarce financial resources, and pressures associated with climate change and global warming. We need to respond to these conflicting priorities in ways that speak to broad public and societal interests” he said. “Skanska embodies the commitment in its business philosophy and in its implementation, and ISI is delighted to work with a company and team that embraces a sustainable future through infrastructure that meets our needs, yet respects our dependence on the natural world we share.”
10
DEC
0
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works in California has become the first government agency in the nation to credential 100 of its personnel as Envision™ Sustainability Professionals.
 
Following the successful completion of ISI’s Envision training and exam, the new Sustainability Professionals (ENV SP), mostly civil engineers, are now able to implement sustainability ideas and practices and document accomplishments in projects in conformance with the Envision rating system.
Public Works Director Gail Farber said the accreditation is a significant milestone in L.A. County’s continued commitment to sustainability.
 
“We continue to be a national leader in rethinking civil infrastructure and promoting sustainable projects, programs, and services,” Farber said. “Investing in sustainability is mission critical to preserve the long-term health and well-being of the environment and the communities we serve”.
The Department’s commitment was recognized recently when its Sun Valley Watershed Multi-Benefit Project achieved an Envision Platinum Award from ISI – the highest level attainable in the Envision system.
The Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system provides a holistic framework for evaluating and rating the community or social, environmental, and economic benefits of all types of infrastructure projects and measures sustainability through five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Natural World, Resource Allocation, and Climate and Risk.
 
“Each ENV SP works as an integral part of a project team with civil engineers, environmental engineers, infrastructure planners, construction managers, architects, transportation professionals, public policy leaders, public works professionals, and other stakeholders to achieve the highest level of sustainability for their infrastructure projects,” said ISI President and CEO, Bill Bertera.