Orange County Branch Newsletter

December 2019

ASCE OC Sustainability Committee

Envision and OC Streetcar Luncheon

By Tonia Wang, P.E., ENV SP | Sustainability Committee Member

On September 19th, the Sustainability Committee of ASCE Orange County Branch organized a luncheon at The Center Club in Costa Mesa focused on Envision with presenters from Brown and Caldwell, OCTA and HDR. Professionals from various civil disciplines attended this event to learn about Envision and how the comprehensive tool can be implemented on a project, especially useful with the increasing emergence of sustainability goals on current infrastructure projects. The first presentation focused on an overview of the Envision project verification process, presented updates from Envision Version 2 to 3, and steps to become an accredited Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP). This was followed by a presentation that provided project updates and information on the Envision verification process for the OC Streetcar, a local Envision Silver-verified project.

J.P. Semper, Senior Managing Engineer for Brown and Caldwell presented an overview of Envision. The presentation emphasized that Envision, unlike LEED’s focus on occupied buildings, applies to all infrastructure projects, including projects in energy, water, transportation, waste, and more. The Envision tool was created to focus on the three main points that must be addressed in any sustainable development: Environmental, Economic, and Social. The Envision rating system consists of project credits split into five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Resilience. The presentation provided information on steps to become an Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) and how to stay up to date with the accreditation renewal and annual education requirements.

Mary Shavalier, Program Manager of the Capital Program Division of OCTA introduced the second presentation with an overview of the OC Street Car project, including information on the project status, construction and vehicle updates and what is being done to maintain outreach with the stakeholders and the public. It was exciting for all to view the current photos of the construction completed at the Santa Ana River Bridge and the Maintenance and Storage Facility.

Ruby Sanchez of HDR ended the presentation with an in-depth look at how the OC Streetcar achieved a Silver Envision Verification. The OC Streetcar achieved the Silver verification during the final design and prior to construction completion. The top Envision categories that were pursued include Quality of Life, Leadership, and Climate and Resilience. Sustainability features of the OC Streetcar under these categories include constructing the rail line on previously unused land for significant transportation improvement and providing “last-mile” connections to major activity centers and neighborhoods in the Santa Ana and Garden Grove areas. The project continuously involved stakeholders and encouraged public feedback throughout the planning and design process through public outreach events and surveys. The OC Streetcar is predicted to significantly reduce air pollution and meet state and agency goals, a result of using electric-powered streetcars and reducing single-occupancy vehicles on the road. 

The luncheon ended with a brief Q&A and networking among attendees. See link for presentation slides. 

About the Author

Tonia Wang is a civil engineer specialized in rail/highway design and sustainability coordination. As a part of HNTB, she is currently working on XpressWest, a high-speed rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley where she obtained a master’s in civil engineering, in the Energy, Civil Infrastructure, and Climate Change graduate program.


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