10 Burns & McDonnell • www.burnsmcd.aero
Airports already provide transportation that is efficient,
affordable, safe and convenient.
They also can be sustainable.
During the past 15 years, airports have placed much emphasis
on green design and construction to help terminals and
associated buildings — structures for aircraft rescue and fire
fighting systems, snow-removal equipment, air traffic control
and more — be more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
But is it enough?
Consider this: What if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
— say, as a result of a congressional mandate during the next
Airport Improvement Program (AIP) Reauthorization effort —
required that infrastructure financed through the AIP or using
passenger facility charges must achieve minimum documented
levels of sustainability?
Airport administrators and consultants soon would be looking
for rating systems that could be used to help guide renovation,
rehabilitation and replacement projects. Such programs could
help see that projects produce results that are as healthy as
possible: environmentally, operationally and financially.
A variety of existing rating systems are available, but
professionals preparing to embrace a sustainable approach to
construction should be sure to consider the systems’ respective
plusses and minuses.
Envision is a program created through collaboration of the
American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Council
of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and the American Public
Works Association (APWA), through a nonprofit partnership
known as the the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI).
The institute worked with the Zofness Program for Sustainable
Infrastructure at Harvard University to jointly develop the
Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System.
Launched in 2012, it is designed to help stakeholders build
sustainability into the nation’s infrastructure — roads, bridges,
pipelines, railways, dams, levees, landfills, water treatment
systems, utilities and, yes, airport — that collectively amount to
Envision leaders say their system evaluates, grades and gives
recognition to infrastructure projects that make exemplary
progress and contributions to a more sustainable future.
Envision fosters a necessary and dramatic improvement in the
performance and resiliency of physical infrastructure across the
full dimensions of sustainability, they say: economic, social and
environmental. Projects are graded not only by individual project
performance, but by how well they contribute to the performance
and long-term sustainability of cities and communities.
The system’s focus is on rating the performance of the
infrastructure element and the project’s impact on and
contribution to the community. The long-term goal for Envision
is to be the nationally recognized equivalent of the U.S. Green
Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
(LEED®) certification program
for infrastructure projects.
The three organizations that
make up ISI — each with a
strong national reputation,
national reach and broad
membership — seek to make
Envision’s ultimate adoption
and acceptance as the
national standard for rating
By Stephen Moulton, PE
INTO YOUR AIRFIELD