About the Infrastructure Sustainability Working Committee

TREIA is a member of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) as an Envision Qualified Company – a member with an Envision Sustainability Professional on staff. Carlos St. James, TREIA board member and Interim Executive Director, is an Envision SP.

ISI has a single purpose: to develop and maintain a sustainability rating for all civil infrastructure. TREIA is one of few ISI members dedicated exclusively to renewable energy-related projects.

ISI was founded by the American Public Works Association (APWA), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and operates under their oversight. This state-of-the-art, holistic sustainability rating system and planning guide (called Envision) helps professionals plan and execute more sustainable infrastructure projects.

Envision was developed in joint collaboration between the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and ISI.

The Need for Envision

Consider the importance of infrastructure in our daily lives. Infrastructure provides the basis for personal security and public health, impacts the economic viability and competitiveness of our communities, moves people and goods, provides us with drinking water and handles our waste, creates spaces for us to enjoy, and allows us to effectively communicate with one another. However, despite the obvious need for infrastructure and the many benefits it provides, historically it is overlooked and underfunded until it breaks down or service is disrupted.

Infrastructure is at the heart of addressing this key challenge of the 21st century, and the standards and methods of the past will not be adequate to meet the needs of the future.

But how do infrastructure developers know whether their decisions are contributing to sustainability or not? How do they bring attention to the need for more sustainable infrastructure? How do they communicate around a shared understanding of what sustainability means? Envision provides a consistent, consensus-based framework for assessing sustainability and resilience in infrastructure. Envision:

  • Sets the standard for what constitutes sustainable infrastructure;

  • Incentivizes higher performance goals beyond minimum requirements;

  • Gives recognition to projects that make significant contributions to sustainability; and

  • Provides a common language for collaboration and clear communication both internally and externally.

Envision’s critical role in infrastructure sustainability

Envision is a framework that includes 64 sustainability and resilience indicators, called ‘credits’, organized around five categories: 

  1. Quality of Life

  2. Leadership

  3. Resource Allocation

  4. Natural World, and 

  5. Climate and Resilience

These collectively address areas of human wellbeing, mobility, community development, collaboration, planning, economy, materials, energy, water, sitting, conservation, ecology, emissions, and resilience. These indicators collectively become the foundation of what constitutes sustainability in infrastructure.

Each of the 64 credits has multiple levels of achievement representing the spectrum of possible performance goals from slightly improving beyond conventional practice, to conserving and restoring communities and environments. By assessing achievement in each of the 64 credits, project teams establish how well the project addresses the full range of sustainability indicators, and are challenged to pursue higher performance.

To join or for more information, please write info@treia.org.