The City of Kansas City, Missouri made a commitment to sustainable infrastructure decades ago. According to the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainability is the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
A quest for sustainability not only benefits public health and the environment, but also impacts the City’s bottom line. Cities that strive for sustainability with every project save taxpayer dollars in the long run by making decisions up front that reduce future maintenance and operation costs.
But, how do municipalities ensure they are building sustainable, resilient infrastructure? How do they measure their efforts and ensure their decisions are truly contributing to a healthy community, environment, and economy?
The Envision™ process is one tool that provides a consistent system of sustainability measurement for civil infrastructure projects. Administered by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), Envision™ provides a framework, or checklist of activities, for municipalities to ensure they are making choices that contribute to sustainable infrastructure.
A project receives Envision™ “points” for each completed item on the checklist, and the cumulative amount of points determine the project’s level of sustainability, or “rating.”
KC Water and contractors building the new Blue River Biosolids facility are striving to meet 30 percent of the suggested Envision™ measurements or points, to ensure the project obtains a Silver Envision™ rating, at a minimum.
Projects receive Envision™ points on five areas of achievement: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Resilience. Each of the five areas includes a number of sub-topics that equal 60 unique criteria categories.
Black & Veatch Civil Engineer Amy Goetz is tasked with documenting decisions and activities that qualify for Envision™ points. She will submit an initial application after the design phase, and a final application post-construction.
Below are examples of each area of achievement and the achievements accomplished at the Blue River Biosolids site.
Envision™ vs. LEED Certification
Envision™ applies to infrastructure, LEED Certification applies to buildings.
Envision™ applies only to public infrastructure, LEED Certification applies to public or private construction.
Envision™ focuses on impact to communities, LEED Certification focuses on occupant comfort and energy efficiency.
|Quality of Life||Leadership||Resource Allocation||Natural World||Climate and Resilience|
|Improved air quality by replacing incineration with thermal hydrolysis process (THP)||City’s commitment to sustainability in all public projects||Recycling 98 percent of construction waste||Preserving undeveloped land by building on previously developed land||Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by reducing biogas flaring and removal of incineration|