Programming Your Utility for Sustainable Performance
The Envision framework becomes the standard for forward-thinking water utilities
Last Modified Aug 15, 2022
Cities and municipalities are increasingly adopting sustainability-focused goals, initiatives, and direct mandates to tackle the myriad challenges they will face in the future and today. Given the criticality and resource intensiveness associated with the operation of water utilities and infrastructure, these agencies are often at the front lines in turning these seemingly unassailable and unquantifiable directives into tangible practices. Many of these agencies are turning to the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Framework to assist them on this venture.
Water infrastructure owners face a multi-faceted challenge with the planning, design, and operation of their facilities and assets. The public expects safe and reliable assets that will enable their populations and businesses to thrive, all while water facility owners seek to balance affordability with maintaining high levels of service
and replacement of assets that have far exceeded their reliable service life. Add sustainability priorities to the mix with capital planning and operations and maintenance, and utilities must examine such criteria as resiliency, energy/carbon reduction, community livability, resource optimization, and planning for uncertain futures.
Utilities large and small are routinely applying Envision principles to their projects.
How can these big picture sustainability challenges be considered within individual pieces of water infrastructure while trying to meet basic operations objectives? These are questions that were asked and answered when the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) developed the Envision framework in 2012.
This article takes a closer look at how three large utilities (NYCDEP, LA County, and Hampton Roads Sanitation District) apply the Envision framework to identify, implement, and document sustainability principles throughout the full life cycle of a piece of civil infrastructure.
A PDF of the full article is available for download.