A new, independent, non-profit organization has begun developing the first-ever sustainability rating system for North American infrastructure.
The new Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) concludes its first two-day board meeting in Washington on Wednesday (Feb. 9).
The organization, which will also administer the ratings system, was founded by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the American Public Works Association (APWA), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
‘Triple Bottom Line’
The ISI rating system will employ the “triple bottom line” concept of sustainability, which includes environmental, economic and social considerations. The system will be designed to identify the benefits of sustainable practice for owners, regulators and practitioners.
Founders say the initiative is the only comprehensive assessment system that strives to improve a project’s social and environmental performance while accounting for economic benefits and creating a better long-term value for the community.
The rating system will be formally launched this summer as a voluntary, web-based product. However, the system will also include an option for third-party verification.
The system will be applicable to a wide range of infrastructure projects, from roads and bridges to energy and water systems. ISI pledged that the ratings system and methods would be “robust, objective and transparent.”
The organization will also be developing certification and continuing education programs for system users.
‘A Groundbreaking Effort’
“This is a groundbreaking effort that will give federal, state and local government agencies a new way to plan and carry out infrastructure projects that achieve broader and longer-term benefits for the American people,” said ACEC chairman and ISI board member Jerry Stump.
“Right now, government agencies lack a comprehensive measuring tool that will assess major infrastructure projects in terms of sustainability and other societal needs. The new ISI rating system will fill this need.”
APWA President George R. Crombie, MPA, said the system would help create more livable communities in the 21st century and provide “a pathway forward in developing an accord between the manmade and natural environment.”
He added: “The challenge before us is not what we can build, but can we build in a sustainable manner meeting the goals of the triple bottom line.”
Said ASCE president Kathy J. Caldwell, P.E.: “As a profession, civil engineers are committed to sustainable practice, so as an organization, ASCE has committed to leading the way forward.”
ISI will both “allow us to create a product the marketplace is demanding” and, eventually, “create an atmosphere of acceptance for sustainable infrastructure solutions.”
The rating system will be performance-based and adaptable, based on project size and complexity. That will allow state and federal agencies to use it for the very largest projects and local governments to use it for smaller projects. The system will also include options for self-assessment and third-party certification.
The nine-member board of directors includes three representatives each from the three founding organizations. They are:
• Gerald Stump, P.E., COO, Wilbur Smith Associates
• Terry F. Neimeyer, P.E., Chairman and CEO, KCI Technologies
• Timothy Psomas, P.E., FACEC, Exec. Eng., Chairman, Psomas Engineering
• Vicki Vikery Quiram, P.E., Public Works Director, Westwood, MA
• Howard B. LaFever, BCEE, P.E., Principal, GHD Inc.
• Larry Stevens, P.E., Senior Project Manager, Howard R. Green Co.
• Christine F. Andersen, Public Works Director, Santa Barbara, CA
• Peter D. Binney, P.E., National Director of Sustainable Infrastructure, Merrick and Co.
• D. Wayne Klotz, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE, President, Klotz Associates and Past President, ASCE
ISI membership is open to individuals, organizations and agencies.
For more information, contact Jeffrey Beard (ACEC) at 202-347-7474 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Julia Anastasio (APWA) at 202-408-9541 or email@example.com; or Joan Buhrman (ASCE) at 703-295-6406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.