Orange County Branch Newsletter
Southern California Takes Lead on Sustainability in Infrastructure
By Charlotte Wu, PE, ENV SP
Sustainability Rating Systems
There are several notable sustainability measuring tools: Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST), Greenroads, and Green Leadership in Transportation Environmental Sustainability (GreenLITES) are a few notable ones; however, the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) Envision rating system can be applied to all civil infrastructure projects. Envision provides a holistic approach to mitigate a project’s impact on economy, environment, and society. It covers planning, design, construction, and operation, which ensures the project life cycle is examined.
Southern California Platinum Envision Projects
Since the first ISI Envision project was awarded in 2013, there are now 28 projects in North America that have been recognized. Out of the 28 projects, four are from southern California, and all are platinum - the highest rank in the rating system! Keep reading to find out about southern California’s Platinum Envision Projects.
South Los Angeles Wetland Park
In 2014, the South Los Angeles Wetland Park project received a Platinum rated award from ISI Envision, the highest rank in ISI Envision rating system. The project converted a previously classified brownfield into a 9-acre nature park and stormwater treatment wetland. A property is classified as brownfield site if it contains hazardous waste or industrial byproducts. The platinum award that South Los Angeles Wetland Park received was the second Platinum awarded by ISI Envision.
Sun Valley Watershed Multi- Benefit Project
Later in 2014, the Sun Valley Watershed Multi-Benefit Project in Los Angeles County also earned Envision Platinum, the third platinum rating awarded. The Sun Valley project provides flood protection as well as storage capacity for treated stormwater in the area. Sun Valley is in San Fernando Valley and the watershed contributes to the Los Angeles River.
Green Build at San Diego International Airport
In 2016, the Green Build Project at San Diego International Airport received Envision Platinum award. It was the first airport project to receive an ISI Envision rated award. The project added ten new gates in Terminal two, separated arrival and departure vehicle traffic, and enhanced several other features to provide better traveling experience; these improvements are built without compromising additional take of greenfield, instead the project utilized former burn dump and landfill for terminal expansion.
Expo Phase 2 Light Rail
In 2017, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority received the fifth ISI Envision Platinum award in California for the Expo Phase 2 Light Rail project. The project extended the Metro Expo Line Rail from existing La Cienega / Jefferson Station 6.6 miles west to City of Santa Monica. It added seven new rail stations, bikeway along the rail line, and 330,000 square feet of landscaping with native plants. The combined elements collectively increased the quality of life in the community, preserved the natural world, reduced risk posed to climate change, proved effective leadership and effective resource allocation, all of which are examined and rated through ISI Envision. Two ASCE Orange County Sustainability Committee members are proud to say they worked on this platinum Envision project in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County Agency Effort
To ensure sustainability is incorporated into future projects, agencies from Los Angeles County are adopting ISI Envision rating system as their primary tool to implement sustainability. The City of Los Angeles adopted ISI Envision rating system in November 2016. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has also recently adopted the ISI Envision rating system. The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works not only adopted Envision as their rating system, they also credentialed 100 of its personnel as ISI Envision Sustainability Professionals (ENV SP), the first government agency in the United States to do so!
Orange County Agency Effort
Inspired by efforts of Los Angeles County agencies, Orange County is also picking up the pace to incorporate sustainability. The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) adopted ISI Envision as their main measuring tool for sustainability and is recognized as an Envision Supported Agency. Although Orange County doesn’t yet have any infrastructure projects with Envision ratings, members of ASCE’s Orange County Sustainability Committee are working to change that.
Go here for information on how you can become an Envision Qualified Company/Agency, a Sustainability Professional, or an Envision Supported Agency:
Written by Charlotte Wu, a professional civil engineer and Envision Sustainability Professional in the field of transportation with WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff