Utilization of Sustainability Principles and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure's Envision System in the U.S. Water Sector

Municipalities and public sector organizations are increasingly considering and implementing sustainability principles into their capital planning, design, construction, and operations. Sustainability can take various forms depending on the opportunities and priorities of each organization. One tool municipalities can use to develop and prioritize sustainability is the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s (ISI) Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Framework (Envision). Envision is a third-party sustainability rating system that is applicable to all types of civil engineering infrastructure projects throughout their lifecycles. Envision measures the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of an infrastructure project from planning all the way through decommissioning.

Water infrastructure is a vital part of our society, which impacts the personal security, public health, and economic viability of our cities. Yet, infrastructure is often underfunded and overlooked until it fails. As sustainability is trending to be a higher priority for infrastructure providers and infrastructure users, organizations are looking for opportunities to make their long-term infrastructure projects “greener”. Envision is one tool municipalities have begun to use to quantify, prioritize, and rate the sustainability of their water infrastructure projects. Envision can aid in the execution of sustainable project elements for water infrastructure and to support higher performance through more sustainable choices in infrastructure development.

The WEF Envision Task Force conducted a survey to better understand how water utilities are implementing the use of Envision and identify what barriers may prevent water utilities from effectively implementing sustainable project elements within their capital and O&M programs. The survey results are summarized and provided in the below Power BI dashboard.

Survey Co-Leads:
Abigail Farrell, PE, ENV SP – EPA Region 9, [email protected] 
Evan Bowles, PE, ENV SP – Hazen and Sawyer, [email protected]
Power BI Dashboard Design:
Malia Dunn-Reier – Hazen and Sawyer, [email protected]