Roadway Environmental Ratings: What’s Best for Your Agency?
Better Roads Staff
ISI develops and maintains Envision, a collaboration between ISI in Washington. D.C., and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. ISI was founded by the American Council of Engineering Companies, the American Public Works Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The Envision rating system evaluates, grades and gives recognition to infrastructure projects that use “transformational, collaborative approaches to assess the sustainability indicators over the course of the project’s life cycle,” ISI says, and its tools help the design team assess costs and benefits over the project lifecycle, evaluate environmental benefits, use outcome-based objectives, and reach higher levels of sustainability achievement.
Envision describes itself as a holistic rating system, in that it takes an extended, broader view of a project’s environmental impact than just the elements of the project itself. “For highways, the question ought to be, ‘What are the transportation choices for improving access and mobility in the community?’,” the ISI states. “For water treatment plants, ‘What can be done to reduce, reuse and restore the community’s water supply?’” Because either, or both, of these criteria may call the project’s very existence into question, Envision may be better suited for regional planning agencies or state DOTs, rather than local agencies. More information will be found at www.sustainableinfrastructure.org.
• CEEQUAL. The grandfather of the rating systems, developed in the United Kingdom, CEEQUAL is an evidence-based sustainability assessment and awards scheme for civil engineering, infrastructure and landscaping, and celebrates the achievement of high environmental and social performance.
CEEQUAL rewards project and contract teams in which clients, designers and contractors go beyond the legal and environmental and social minima to achieve distinctive environmental and social performance in their work. CEEQUAL was launched in 2003, and more than 130 final and 60 interim Awards have been achieved with a further 240 projects and contracts being assessed in March 2012. More information is available at www.ceequal.com.
State and Provincial Systems
National initiatives are complemented by state and provincial sustainability rating systems. These include:
• GreenLITES. Developed by the New York State DOT, GreenLITES is a sustainability rating and self-certification program that recognizes transportation projects and operations on the extent to which they incorporate sustainable choices.
GreenLITES is modeled after the LEED and Greenroads programs. NYS DOT’s certification program builds on other environmental initiatives already begun by the department. It’s the next step in a long-term commitment to evaluating and refining practices to encourage sustainable choices in project design. Most NYS DOT projects are evaluated under GreenLITES. The certification program is designed to be flexible, and as new best practices emerge and new innovative approaches are developed, they are added to the program.
GreenLITES certification categories are Sustainable Sites, Water Quality, Materials and Resources, Energy and Atmosphere, and Innovation.
Like Greenroads, GreenLITES certifies projects at increasing levels of sustainability: Certified, Silver, Gold and Evergreen. More information is available at www.dot.ny.gov/programs/greenlites.
• GreenPave. In 2010 the Ontario Ministry of Transportation launched GreenPave, a points-based rating system which focuses on pavements, not the entire right-of-way. MTO’s goal is to establish a rating system for pavement sustainability that applies to all designs of asphalt and concrete pavement structures.
Download more information at www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/transtek/roadtalk/rt16-1/#a6.
• I-LAST. The Illinois Livable and Sustainable Transportation (I-LAST) Rating System and Guide was rolled out in January 2010 and is a sustainability performance metric system developed by the Joint Sustainability Group of the Illinois DOT, the American Council of Engineering Companies-Illinois, and the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, among other statewide groups.
The use of I-LAST is voluntary. I-LAST includes a point system for evaluating the sustainable measures included in a project. Download the I-LAST manual at www.dot.state.il.us/green/documents/I-LASTGuidebook.pdf
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