Envisioning a Sustainable Future

At Dewberry, we have many employees who are LEED certified. We also have employees who have earned their Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) accreditation. The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure developed Envision as a system for rating the sustainability of infrastructure projects. While the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system focuses on the vertical built environment, Envision concentrates on infrastructure projects, such as roadways, water and sewer systems, and utility lines. Many of these projects span large areas, take a long time to complete, and can be built to last 100 years or longer.

Incorporating Sustainability Rating Tools

As part of their environmental management system goals, New York City Transit (NYCT) is seeking to incorporate sustainability rating tools into their workflows. Having worked on numerous projects with NYCT, they asked us to lead a workshop for their employees to give them an overview of Envision. As part of the session, we took one of their current projects and went through the exercise of rating it against five of Envision's 60 criteria: improve community quality of life, preserve historic and cultural resources, improve infrastructure integration, provide for deconstruction and recycling, and prepare for short-term hazards. I believe the workshop has elevated their thinking around sustainable infrastructure projects, and now they are looking to identify an ideal project to use the Envision rating system on—one that will be worthwhile from the public perspective.

Understanding Impacts for Lasting Designs

At NYCT's LEED®-Gold certified Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot, we are evaluating the effectiveness of the depot's sustainable features. This innovative project has features such as a green roof, solar wall, and new boilers that reduce greenhouse gas by nearly 85 percent. It is the first LEED certified bus depot in the country and was recently awarded a 2016 Environmental Excellence Award from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, serving as a testament to NYCT's commitment to a sustainable future.

Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot

Hopefully others will follow in NYCT's path. Helping our clients look at the environmental, social, and economic impacts of projects is important to making their projects sustainable in the long run. I look forward to seeing how Envision will evolve to include the operations and maintenance of projects and adding renovation and redevelopment project criteria in the future.

  • Jim Heeren
    Jim Heeren
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