APWA Center for Sustainability Leadership Group member Michael Simpson, Senior Environmental Engineer, City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, has a story to tell.  So does Jenifer Willer, P.E., City of Eugene, Oregon Department of Public Works.   Both Jenifer and Michael have written case studies describing projects that demonstrate sustainability in public works. 


In the Humboldt Stormwater Greenway Project, the City of Los Angeles worked to daylight an existing storm drain system and constructing a stormwater  greenway with a “stream’ ecosystem.  The project constructed an above ground detention basin for temporary runoff storage in order to capture, infiltrate and remove pollutants from dry-weather runoff and limited stormwater flows from approximately 3.5 acres of adjacent ands, thereby improving the downstream water quality of Los Angeles River receiving waters.  The projects resulted in positive impact upon the natural environment and improved the delivery of services and enhanced the local infrastructure. 


The City of Eugene has implemented a variety of construction methods to maximize the sustainability practices in pavement preservation.  The three primary construction technologies the city uses reduce environmental impacts, increases the use of reclaimed asphalt binder materials and in-place recycling v. traditional street reconstruction.  The incorporation of these methods of construction have shown positive results in environmental, economic, social and health benefits to the community.  These projects create jobs, leverage city funds, and address pavement preservation backlogs while also providing public education opportunities, creating safe public facilities and improving overall community livability. 


The APWA Center for Sustainability is would like more stories like this to share with other APWA members.  The Center would like to highlight sustainable public works and infrastructure projects, programs and local initiatives so that we can build a collection of useful resources. 


The Center for Sustainability defines sustainability in public works as “seeking a balanced approach for a vibrant community today and tomorrow, and it is accomplished by the efficient delivery of infrastructure in an environmentally and socially responsible way that ensures the best economic choice in the long term.

We are seeking case studies on a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to:

  • Communications and stakeholder engagement
  • Making the case for sustainability to your elected officials
  • Recognizing a sustainability champion on your team
  • Budgeting/ finance issues
  • Transportation/ Transit
  • Water
  • Fleet
  • Facilities and Grounds
  • Small cities and Rural communities
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Leadership and Management
  • Solid Waste/ Recycling
  • Others topics that you want to share!


We have created a template for you to follow-- http://www.apwa.net/DR/index.asp?ID=1726.  

Please keep the case studies as brief as you can while still providing robust information.  Pictures, graphics and other images always add to the presentation.  


The Center for Sustainability will publish these case studies on the APWA website and make them accessible to everyone.  This is a great way to tout your own success, share learning experiences and advice, and connect with other public works professionals working to create sustainable communities. 

Thank you and if you have any questions please contact Julia Anastasio at janastasio@apwa.net




[update: July 12, 2013 post: Fleet Program Saves $300K and Provides Zero Emission Platform]


Loveland Nissan Leaf


In July of this year, Sustainability Works! Reported on the City of Loveland, Colorado's plans to add zero emissions vehicles to its fleet.   Now,GreenFleet Magazine has published an update on the city's efforts:  http://www.greenfleetmagazine.com/news/51751/city-of-loveland-moves-ahead-with-electric-vehicles?utm_campaign=Green-Fleet-Enews-20131014&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter


The Public Works department in partnership with the Electrification Coalition just released a case study on its efforts.    According to the case study, between 2009 and 2011, fuel costs for the City of Loveland’s vehicle fleet increased by 29 percent. This large and rapid upward shift in costs prompted the city to initiate an aggressive alternative--‐fuel vehicle purchasing strategy, focusing initially on battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Though not without early challenges—perceptions of the technology, for example—the vehicles have already proven to be a cost--‐effective addition to the municipal fleet for local service needs. The city has found that the BEVs will cost 41 percent less to own and operate than gasoline--‐powered vehicles.


The city worked closely with the Nissan and a local dealership as it worked to purchase the vehicles and learned more about the technology. Loveland also benefited from Nissan’s municipal lease program, which allows the federal tax credit of $7,500 per vehicle to be incorporated directly into the lease price (public agencies are not typically able to take advantage of the federal tax credit for purchase of an electric vehicle). Today, Loveland’s two Nissan LEAF BEVs are used daily by city employees for a variety of local service activities. With two BEVs already in the fleet, another three on order for 2013, and an additional four for 2014, the city is planning for a future  when electric vehicles service the majority of its needs. The city ultimately aims to meet a goal of converting all fleet vehicles for which no heavy hauling is required and with operational ranges within a 35--‐mile radius of the city to plug--‐in electric vehicles.

Learn more about Loveland’s efforts and see if your community can benefits from a similar effort.  




Envision Logo


The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure continues to develop and refine the Envision rating system.  Part of the refinement includes the development of the development of a business case evaluator tool.  ISI is seeking feedback on an Envision economic companion tool for stormwater.


Economic factors are an essential component of sustainable infrastructure, along with environmental and social considerations. The business case for sustainable infrastructure goes beyond a return on investment: it also includes infrastructure effectiveness, costs, reliability, and livability. These factors contribute to how communities perceive these infrastructure projects which in turn has a real dollar value associated with it.


This Envision Economic tool, called the Business Case Evaluator, is being developed by Impact Infrastructure, LLC, which is a Charter Member of ISI. The Business Case Evaluator (BCE) provides a value-based and risk-adjusted analysis of stormwater infrastructure projects and maps these to the Envision credits. Once it is finalized based on public input, the BCE will be offered at no cost through the ISI website.


There are several economic tools that are being developed in parallel in different agencies, companies, and research organizations that fill the unique needs of different infrastructure sectors and geographic locations. ISI encourages the development of these tools and will continue to provide an opportunity for public feedback to strengthen the metrics and tools that will be made publically available.


The Business Case Evaluator for Stormwater Management, user manual and documentation can be found at sustainableinfrastructure.org/tools/stormwater/index.cfm.


Please send your comments to ISI by October 17th.  ISI has provided an online comment form for you to use. 


Over the past several years, APWA has been working with the EPA Office of Water and other national associations in the sector to bring useful resources and tools on sustainable utility management.  The first set of resources developed through this collaboration was the Effective Utility Management attributes and Primer.  Building upon the success of that project and in an effort to fulfill the President’s sustainability goals, the Office of Water partnered with the US Department of Agriculture to produce resources specific to small and rural communities. 


EPA Rural Guidebook Cover


This effort is modeled on the Effective Utility Management Initiative. The first, a new Rural and Small Systems Guidebook to Sustainable Utility Management, will help such systems assess the effectiveness of their operations, prioritize potential improvements, and develop an action plan to address these priorities. The second, a “Workshop in a Box,” contains a series of materials and instructions to help both rural and small systems and service providers market and conduct workshops based on the guidebook. For more information and to access these tools: http://www.apwa.net/DR/index.asp?ID=1700.


Workshop in Box Cover

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