ASEE Zone 2 Conference 2017

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Developing Knowledge of Infrastructure Sustainability Using the ENVISION Rating System

Final Paper
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Envision is the sustainability rating system that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has developed to rate infrastructure facilities. The rating speaks to the triple bottom line of social, economic, and environmental goals. Existing rating systems such as LEED and Greenroads are sector-specific. A general system that covers all aspects of infrastructure does not exist, and Envision was designed to fill this gap. In rating America’s infrastructure, ASCE evaluates capacity, condition, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation. In the latest report card issued by ASCE in 2013, America’s infrastructure collectively received a (D+) grade. Many of the facilities rated in this report card received poor grades and the highest grade achieved by any type of facility was (C+). This led to the realization of the need to identify areas of weaknesses and the attempt to improve the design process. ASCE identified the need to promote sustainability and resilience as an important starting point to enhance infrastructure performance. This approach resulted in the development of a rating system that helps designers score high marks in the design of infrastructure facilities by implementing features that increase resilience and sustainability. A course entitled sustainable infrastructure was developed and taught to highlight the advantages of sustainable design. The ENVISION rating system was introduced and explained in detail to heighten awareness of the need to implement in the design of a facility as many as possible of the features that contribute to a higher score on the sustainability scale. Students were excited to learn that many easy-to- implement features could be adopted in facility design and that would significantly enhance its rating and performance. This method of teaching showed the students the practical side of design and opened their eyes to the need to take a fresh look at innovative design possibilities.


Ashraf Ghaly    
Union College
United States


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