ENVR E-119E: Sustainable Infrastructure: The Envision Rating System Approach Sustainable Infrastructure: The Envision Rating System Approach
The Envision tool for sustainable infrastructure can be used for infrastructure projects of all types, sizes, complexities, and locations to assist the project team achieve higher levels of sustainability. It was originally developed by the Zofnass Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and it is currently offered by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). A set of sixty sustainability criteria arranged in the categories of quality of life, leadership, resource allocation, natural world, and climate and risk are the core of Envision. While these criteria can be used to guide the decision making process, a third-party project verification and award program is available to recognize projects that have achieved higher levels of sustainability. Envision is a valuable resource for all the stakeholders involved in the development of infrastructure, including engineers, owners, policy makers, community groups, and construction workers. Professionals trained in the use of Envision can be credentialed by ISI as Envision sustainability professionals. The course delves into the methodology and criteria of Envision, using them as a foundation for exploring the technical and organizational dimensions of sustainable infrastructure design. It covers how the tool offers a guide through the various phases of a project, from the first planning steps developing the project brief and purpose, to avoiding traps and vulnerabilities in the long term. The interdependencies between design decisions, technical considerations, and the impacts on the adjacent communities and natural environment are discussed. Experts from the industry and academia are invited to cover key points of the Envision methodology such as the principles of life cycle analysis and methods for meaningful engagement with members of the public and other stakeholder groups. Case studies of the first projects successfully rated and awarded through Envision are analyzed to offer examples of best practices and strong leadership, and a better understanding of the benefits and challenges of the rating process.