ENVR E-119E Sustainable Infrastructure: The Envision Rating System Approach
The Envision tool for sustainable infrastructure can be used for projects of all types, sizes, complexities, and locations to assist the project team achieve high levels of sustainability. Envision is a valuable resource for all the stakeholders involved in the development of infrastructure, including engineers, urban planners, owners, policy makers, community groups, and construction workers. It can guide the decision-making process but, most importantly, it can serve as a collaboration tool, a common point of reference for all stakeholders involved. Envision was originally developed by the Zofnass Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and is currently supported by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). A set of sixty sustainability criteria arranged in the categories of quality of life, leadership, resource allocation, natural world, and climate and risk are the core of Envision. Professionals trained in the use of Envision can be credentialed by ISI as Envision sustainability professionals (ENV SP). The course delves into the methodology and criteria of Envision, using them as a foundation for exploring the environmental, social, and organizational dimensions of sustainable infrastructure. Industry and academic experts join the class to discuss key sustainability practices and methodologies, and offer an inside view of how the planning and construction industries are being transformed. Case studies of projects rated through Envision are analyzed to offer examples of best practices and strong leadership. Students become familiar with strategies for healthy communities, energy, water and material conservation, waste management, preservation of natural systems, and resilience. They are introduced to the concept of life cycle assessment, and methods for meaningful engagement with members of the public and other stakeholder groups. Students learn to apply and leverage Envision to its fullest potential and effectively advocate for sustainability in their team and organization. Students who successfully complete the course for credit are eligible to take the exam towards the ENV SP credential.