Sustainability, Envision and RFPs

The principles of sustainable development are fundamental to how civil engineers and the public can more successfully address return on investment, critical societal needs, environmental pressures, and the impacts of climate change. This led APWA, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to launch a not-for-profit organization dedicated to sustainable infrastructure, the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). ISI’s sustainability rating tool Envision provides a holistic framework for evaluating and rating the community, environmental, and economic benefits of all types and sizes of infrastructure projects.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) process allows municipalities, government agencies, grant foundations, and other organizations to incorporate principles, such as sustainability, prior to choosing consultants to carry out projects. The RFP process is a unique opportunity to focus consultants on sustainability through project planning, environmental review, final design, specification development and construction. The criteria for creating RFP language that promote sustainability successfully:

  • Are consistent with sustainability principles, as established by categories in the ISI Envision Self-Assessment checklist
  • Are specific to the organization developing the RFP
  • Utilize the Envision rating tool
  • Encourage sustainable solutions
  • Are cost effective and budget conscious

Incorporating sustainability principles into RFPs
Members of the Emerging Leaders Academy Class V (2012) developed a report as part of their class project designed to incorporate sustainability principles into requests for proposal.
The report includes the following documents that can help agencies transform the way public works infrastructure is developed, operated and maintained:
The video below from the 2011 International Public Works Congress & Exposition features Vicki Vickrey Quiram, Commissioner of New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, who continues the conversation about ISI and the Envision rating system.