Orange County Branch Newsletter

November 2016

Branch News

ENVISION Advances from SoCal to Hawaii: Ports, Airports, and Farms - a review of the Sustainability Committee Luncheon on October 20, 2016

By: Janet Fordunski, PE, RMC Water and Environment

What is ENVISION? 

56 people filled the Center Club to learn about the ENVISION sustainability rating system from three practitioners. The event was hosted by Sustainability Committee members, adorned with Hawaiian flowers, to show how ENVISION gives civil engineers to tools to make a difference.

Why is sustainability a civil engineer’s responsibility?

Doug Sereno inspired the room with his words. Through his experience as Chair of the ASCE Committee on Sustainability and establishing ENVISION at the Port of Long Beach as the Director of Program Management, Doug motivated all of us to take up the responsibility of addressing the daunting challenges of deteriorating infrastructure and the uncertain future availability of resources. Sustainability is part of ASCE’s sustainable code of ethics and tenets to protect human life and welfare through the built environment and ENVISION is the transformation of civil engineering practices and standards in response to the changing world.

Through his leadership in ASCE, Doug Sereno has advanced the role of civil engineers to work collaboratively with other disciplines in sustainability. He quoted Ron Sims, former U.S. Housing and Urban Development deputy secretary, “We will either succeed because of your skills, or we will fail because of your indifference.” Doug’s passion filled the room and got each one of us to ask how we can reinvent our role as not just civil engineers, but master builders, stewards of the environment, innovators, managers of risk, and leaders in public policy.

How does ENVISION help you do the right project?

Beth Breitenbach, Senior Project Manager for Haley & Aldrich, described how ENVISION was used to fulfill the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s commitment to sustainability for the Green Build Project. The Green Build Project included the first airport terminal to receive LEED Platinum and the first airport to receive ENVISION Platinum…in the world!

The $1 billion project comprised a major expansion of San Diego International Airport’s Terminal 2, which included 10 new gates, a dual-level roadway, enhanced curbside check in, more security lanes, and expanded concession area. There were complex environmental issues including brownfield remediation due to building on a former landfill and protecting California Least Tern Habitat. To reduce energy, the project implemented 1 MW of solar PV, cool roofs/pavements, and 40 electric vehicle charging stations. 99% of construction material waste was reused on-site or recycled, including 25,000 tons of concrete. More than 20% of building materials were from recycled sources and over 10% were from local sources. The Green Build created 1,000 jobs at peak construction and has the nation’s largest airport USO Center.

The ENVISION rating system allowed the Authority to demonstrate transparency and accountability, promote a whole-systems approach, and achieve regional and international recognition. Green Build was the largest improvement project in the airport’s history and is now a hallmark for future airport projects using sustainable building practices.

How is Envision applied to a project?

Jessica Cassman, Principal of Blue Ocean Engineering, explained how she applied the Envision rating system to Kunia Country Farms, an aquaponics project in Hawaii. For its focus on Zero Impact Farming, the project was awarded ENVISION Gold and was the first project in Hawaii to earn an ENVISION award!

The ISI Envision system measures sustainability in infrastructure projects using a system of 60 credits in five categories: Quality of Life (QL), Leadership (LD), Natural World (NW), Resource Allocation (RA), and Climate and Risk (CR). Jessica walked through the ENVISION self-assessment checklist and explained the rating system from improved (minimal points), enhanced, superior, conserving, and restorative (highest points). The registration, assessment, verification, and authentication processes were also described as well as the fees, which are typically from 0.1% to less than 1% of overall project cost.

The sustainability highlights of Kunia Country Farms include increased quality of life through employment on a former Del Monte Pineapple Farm. The project also encouraged new associated businesses in the area, such as landscape composting from the fish waste solids created. Aquaponics is 40% more productive than growing on land and excess food is donated to the Hawaii Food Bank. The grow troughs are made from recycled shipping pallets and the plant medium is from coconut husks.

Jessica’s message is that we really can do more with less.

I’d like to know more about ENVISION. Where can I go to find out more?



Visit our Sponsor

Related Groups/Committees