Infrastructure is good. Sustainable infrastructure is better.
Rapid urbanization is a growing reality in infrastructure development. According to the Global Environment Facility, it’s estimated that more than two billion additional people will be living in cities by 2050. The need for sustainable infrastructure is more critical than ever.
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, an organization cofounded by ASCE in 2011, has made it easier for civil engineers to incorporate sustainable methods. ISI developed the Envision rating system to measure sustainable infrastructure projects in five categories: quality of life, leadership, natural world, resource allocation, and climate and risk. Infrastructure projects that achieve Envision award status demonstrate exemplary progress toward sustainability.
Here are five sustainable Envision projects you wish were in your city:
1. The roadway revamp that’s every pedestrian’s dream
Who said roadways were just for cars? Why not build roadways accessible to all travelers? The Inner Loop East Transformation project in Rochester, NY, did just that. The underused highway was transformed into a pedestrian paradise, complete with energy-efficient LED street lighting, a protected two-way bicycle lane, ample public seating, safer crosswalks, wider sidewalks, and greenery.
Read more about the Inner Loop East Transformation project.
2. The solar project that cuts greenhouse gas emissions in half
Alliant Energy had a bright idea in the Dubuque Solar project. The largest solar garden in Iowa, it supports Alliant’s transition to a cleaner-energy future. Electricity generated from the project will be consumed entirely within the City of Dubuque. Solar panels will also help the city achieve its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from 2003 levels by 2030.
Read more about the Dubuque Solar project.
3. The multiuse bridge that connects all types of travelers
The New Champlain Bridge Corridor project, in Montréal, Québec, bridged a gap between the cities of Montréal to the west and Brossard to the east by replacing the existing Champlain Bridge. The major regional transportation system allows all travelers, from pedestrians to cyclists, to access the bridge on a new multiuse path.
Read more about the New Champlain Bridge Corridor project.
4. The modern sewerage pumping station that reduces energy waste
Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Pumping Station 15 knows a thing or two about waste. In this case, the station upgraded its 1970s-era pumps and mechanical equipment to reduce energy waste and consumption by 20 percent. The installation of efficient resources, like solar panels, provides the station close to 10 percent of its power needs.
Read more about the Pumping Station 15 project.
5. The roadway project that sourced over half its materials locally
The University Pointe Boulevard project in Charlotte, NC, literally paved the road to sustainability. Approximately 65 percent of materials used, including soil, asphalt, aggregate, and concrete, were locally sourced. New improvements feature a bridge over Interstate 85, a secondary access road, a roundabout intersection, and pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
Read more about the University Pointe Boulevard project.