Evaluating Projects Within the Envision Rating System

Posted on Wednesday, January 20th, 2016 by
In Sustainability, tagged in Tags:

Envision certification was created by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) to maintain a sustainability rating system for civil infrastructure. It is not intended to evaluate human-occupied, interior, conditioned buildings, but can be used in conjunction with building rating systems. As opposed to pre-planned measures, it acts as a guide, assigning credits based on decisions made. This allows users to objectively measure how sustainable their solutions are.

The Envision Rating System has 60 sustainability criteria, which are organized into five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk. Sustainability ratings for infrastructure projects are established through a performance assessment that awards points for up to five levels of achievement within each credit. Additional points for innovative performance can be earned in each category. The rating system evaluates a project’s overall contribution to the economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainability. It incorporates the following elements:

  • Social well-being is comprehensively addressed.
  • Changing conditions are accounted for.
  • Restoration of natural resources and ecosystems is an explicit level of achievement.
  • Long-term costs and risks are reduced.
  • Life cycle considerations are addressed.
  • Significant and relevant innovation is recognized and rewarded.

Any civil infrastructure project could be rated implementing this system. However, designing the project from the outset with this approach will increase the likelihood of earning a higher number of credits. Using this system will help you:

  • Meet sustainability goals.
  • Be publicly recognized for high levels of achievement in sustainability.
  • Assist communities and project teams in determining both of these questions: “Are we doing the right project?” and “Are we doing the project right?”
  • Make decisions about the investment of scarce resources.
  • Include a community’s priorities in civil infrastructure projects.

Envision has five rated categories:

  • Quality of Life: Purpose, Community, and Wellbeing
  • Leadership: Collaboration, Management, and Planning
  • Resource Allocation: Materials, Energy, and Water
  • Natural World: Siting, Land and Water, and Biodiversity
  • Climate and Risk: Emissions and Resilience

Within those five categories, there are five levels of achievement:

  • Improved—Performance that is above conventional and slightly exceeds regulatory requirements.
  • Enhanced—Sustainable performance that is on the right track. There are indications that superior performance is within reach.
  • Superior—Sustainable performance that is noteworthy, but not conserving. Point scores are designed to provide incentives for achieving sustainable or restorative performance.
  • Conserving—Performance that has achieved essentially zero negative impact.
  • Restorative—Performance that restores natural or social systems. Such performance receives the highest award possible and is celebrated as such. The Restorative level is not applicable to all objectives.

When it comes to scoring projects, each credit and its associated level of achievement are assigned points, which are then weighted in accordance with their estimated contribution to sustainability. Guidance on how to determine the level of achievement for a given project is provided within each credit description. The values for all applicable items are then added together to give a total score. They are:

  • Bronze: 20 percent of total applicable points
  • Silver: 30 percent of total applicable points
  • Gold: 40 percent of total applicable points
  • Platinum: 50 percent of total applicable points

To learn more about the Envision rating system, contact us at info@affinis.us.

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About Jason Davis

Having served in the military, Jason understands the intricacies of federal work. An owner at Affinis, his extensive knowledge makes him a great asset to us, as well as our clients.