Sustainability

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Caterpillar is the world's leading manufacturer of construction equipment, and diesel and natural gas engines, providing exceptional value to help our customers succeed.

Live Events

Spotlight On Sustainability

PWX@Home works around your busy lifestyle. You can choose one afternoon per month to set aside and embrace an all-new virtual learning experience. The second Tuesday of each month from August through July, APWA will unveil education in 12 key public works focus areas. The series features sessions on relevant topics—most of which were selected for PWX 2020 in varying formats to maximize learning and engagement.

View all 2020-2021 Spotlight On... Series sessions >

May 11, 2021
1:00–4:30 p.m. CT

Attend three sessions related to Sustainability for one low price! Registration is $50 for Members and $75 for Non-Members. Participants are eligible for up to 0.3 CEUs for this program. Thanks to the generosity of our PWX@Home sponsor, Beam, two additional pre-recorded sessions, PWX Content Collections: Sustainability, are included with Spotlight on Sustainability registration.

Register for May


The Business Case for Sustainability: Maximizing the Economics of Your Infrastructure Investments

Speakers: Steph Larocque, Doug Melnick, Ed Othmer, James Patteson

The principles of sustainability ask designers to consider the three E’s – Environment, Equity, and Economics. This presentation focuses on how public works professionals can evaluate program choices considering comprehensive life-cycle costs to best serve their communities. Too often, sustainable approaches are not pursued due to a misconception that these features are “cost plus” nice-to-haves. The discussion is, “I’d like to do more and know it’s the right thing to do, but I don’t have the budget….” Decisions are made to pursue compliance minimums, while a better thought-out, high-performance approach, would provide a better long-term solution. The manufacturing, retail, and construction industries have learned this lesson and actively incorporate sustainable practices to gain market advantage. Google, Walmart, and the US Navy all embrace smarter, more resilient investments. They have learned that sustainability spurs innovation, creates consumer trust and brand loyalty, improves employee attraction and retention, and reduces cost. This session will use local government case studies to show how to apply design tools to evaluate more sustainable solutions and conduct comprehensive life-cycle economic analysis. “How-to” tips will be provided on tools like Envision, LEED, and other practical applications. Lessons learned will be shared on how to effectively engage staff, the community, and elected officials to inform and educate them on sustainability.

Proficiency Level: Applied

Learning Objectives:
1. Analyze and communicate the benefits of sustainability that accrue to a community considering improved equity, environment, and with a focus on the financials.
2. Educate governing bodies and advocate for higher performance, more resilient practices and policies based on evidence-based research and data.
3. Utilize economic tools to analyze innovative approaches to deliver public works projects in a manner that serves the community in a more sustainable way.


Public Agencies Can Save the World!: Steps Public Agencies Can Take to Address Climate Change

Speakers: Katie Harrel, Josette Descalzo

Climate change discussions are becoming more and more necessary as changes to weather patterns and coastal communities are observed. California has experienced larger and more severe fires. The southeast has been impacted by stronger and more frequent hurricanes. Glaciers in Alaska are melting. Everyone is experiencing more extreme seasons. Public agencies are in a position of strength, as they are able to identify, plan, and implement policies, programs, and projects that can address climate change, as every initiative counts towards the greater good and future generations. This presentation includes a panel of engineers, public works directors, and elected officials that can discuss the process of identifying and implementing initiatives to address climate change. Climate change projects come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from light bulb replacement to green infrastructure to the creation of a new power source. Come hear how you can make a difference in your community’s future.

Proficiency Level: Applied

Learning Objectives:
1. Initiate policies, programs, and projects that will address the impacts of climate change, ranging from light replacement to green infrastructure implementation, all of which provide a level of resistance to the changing climate.
2. Establish working groups that can lead the way in creating programs and policies that can be used to address climate change, starting at the city and levels.
3. Present ideas to address climate change to elected officials, who can then help raise the awareness of the general public to gain support on climate change initiatives.


C4S Roundtable: Envision Better Projects

Speakers: John Trujillo, Melissa Peneycad, J.C. Alonzo, Youn Sim, Floren Poliseo

Public agencies increasingly use the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) Envision rating system to approach project planning, design, and construction with the triple bottom line in mind, there is a lot to learn from infrastructure owners and project teams who’ve used it and had their project verified. Envision v3 builds upon previous versions of the rating system to help project teams address climate change impacts, consider life-cycle costs, and advance social equity and community resilience. Hear from project teams that have used Envision about the challenges they’ve encountered, the lessons they’ve learned and the benefits they’ve seen, whether using Envision as a planning and design tool or pursuing project verification. Presenters will also address the verification process and discuss how they might approach the next project. This session is supported by the APWA Center for Sustainability (C4S).

Proficiency Level: Applied

Learning Objectives:
1. Explore Envision v3 categories, credit requirements, and the verification process by engaging in robust conversation with experienced users.
2. Compare and contrast the approaches of different teams to project planning, design, and construction using Envision.
3. Examine the keys to successful Envision verification.


International Infrastructure Roundtable: Applying the United Nations Sustainability Goals to Public Works around the World

May 4, 2021
2:00–3:30 p.m. CT

This roundtable discussion will focus on how communities and public works agencies in different countries are working toward achieving the targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Speakers and topics include:

  • Trevor Sultana, Business Manager for Water Operations at Goulburn Mulwaree Council, Australia, will focus on the importance of sustainable water supply systems (UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation).
  • Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, Project Director for Carbon Neutral Helsinki at the City of Helsinki, Finland, will talk about the measures the City of Helsinki is taking to make the city carbon neutral by 2035. She will focus on the city’s approach to energy production as well as how the city is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency (UN Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy).
  • James Patteson, Principal with Blue Heron Leadership Group, and Steve Struthers, Public Sector Strategy Consultant, will explore community based strategic planning at the local government level with a focus on creating a more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable community (UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities).

Registration is FREE for Members and Non-Members.

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Small Cities/Rural Communities Perspective On Sustainability

May 5, 2021
Noon1:00 p.m. CT

While small cities and rural communities face the same challenges as larger and urban communities to address climate change, build resilience and social equity, and comply with environmental regulations, they often do not have the same resources – whether revenue, expertise or dedicated staff. But they are developing creative solutions to further sustainability. Join this panel discussion to learn more about how sustainability is being advanced in small cities and rural communities.

Registration is FREE for Members and Non-Members.

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Principles of Public Works Self-Assessment Workshop

May 13, 2021
12:30–3:30 p.m. CT

The Principles of PW Self-Assessment virtual workshop has been developed with a focus on understanding the practices and completing the self-assessment process using the manual and software.

Public works self-assessment provides opportunities for continuous improvement for your overall operations, ultimately leading to better quality of life for your community.  Look ahead as you plan for a stronger, more resilient operation in which your employees are empowered by this opportunity to share their expertise and knowledge.

Registration is $50 for Members and $75 for Non-Members.

Register Now


Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) Training

May 17, 18, 19, 20
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. CT

Envision is designed to help infrastructure stakeholders implement more sustainable projects. The ENV SP designation is becoming an increasingly important credential for any professional involved in civil infrastructure. Since its inception, more than 6,000 professionals have obtained their ENV SP credential, which has equipped them with the knowledge to apply the ground-breaking Envision concepts to their daily work.

The purpose of this training is to equip participants to use Envision. In collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, APWA is excited to offer live online Envision Training over four consecutive days for two hours each day. Participants will also be qualified to take the Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) exam. The cost of the exam is included in the training registration cost.

Registration is $450 for Members and $550 for Non-Members. Registration closes at 12:00 p.m. CT on May 13, 2021.

Note: Recordings of the sessions will not be available. Registrants must be present for the live training sessions.

Register Now


Third Thursday Advocacy Jam! – May

May 20, 2021
2:303:30 p.m. CT

The focus of federal governments in both the United States and Canada on sustainability issues has only increased in recent months. Canada’s federal government has made climate action a cornerstone of its recovery plan to support and create a million jobs across the country and in the US sustainability, climate, and equity issues are becoming a central element of new proposals for infrastructure legislation. To help public works professionals in their advocacy to elected officials on these critical issues, APWA Government Affairs is in the process of developing new Policymaker Primers on sustainability issues related to recycling and climate change. Please join APWA’s US and Canadian Government Affairs staff for an open-ended discussion of sustainability in public works, our process for developing the new primers, and efforts to address sustainability through upcoming legislation and regulations. Additionally, with this month’s Advocacy Jam taking place during National Public Works Week (NPWW), there will be an update on advocacy efforts aimed at once again ensuring recognition of the essential nature of public works during NPWW. We look forward to hearing your thoughts – join the conversation!

Registration is FREE for Members and Non-Members.

Register Now


CLL: Climate Change: What Does It Mean For Local Government

May 27, 2021
10:00–11:00 a.m. CT

Many local governments are facing significant challenges due to a changing climate, including more frequent and longer lasting wildfires, drought, flooding, extreme heat and storms, as well as sea level rise. Local governments are also at the forefront of climate action, working to reduce current and future impacts – and public works plays a critical role. This Click Listen and Learn brings together leaders from Broward County, FL, Portland, ME, and Los Angeles, CA, who have developed strategies for resource policy and planning, land management, environmental monitoring, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting natural assets and transitioning to clean renewable energy. Learn about how municipal operations and public works are implementing sustainable and resilient solutions, including through partnerships and stakeholder engagement.

Registration is FREE for Members

Register Now


On Demand eLearning Opportunities

Principles of Public Works Operations: Principles of Creating and Growing Sustainable Communities

This session is designed for individuals that are interested in exploring how to create and grow sustainable communities, as it applies for those entering the public works industry and those who want to further their professional development. This session provides an understanding of the overall concept of sustainability and Public Works’ role in creating sustainable communities. It provides real-world examples, as well as a discussion guide to keep the conversation going with your peers after the conclusion of the session.

Purchase From APWA Store

PWX Content Collections: Sustainability – Coming Soon!

This collection features pre-recorded presentations that showcase the importance of community planning with Sustainability in mind. Sessions include questions to ask to “future-proof” projects and identifying strategies to improve the sustainability of pavement in urban environments. Thanks to the generosity of our PWX@Home sponsor, Beam, the full collection is included with the registration for May’s Spotlight on Sustainability.


APWA Resource Center Highlights – Coming Soon!

APWA’s NEW Resource Center will highlight the following resources May 1-31, 2021 for members and non-members:

  • CLL: Incorporating Social Equity into Decision Making
  • CLL: Circular City: Creating a Sustainable Circular Plan
  • CLL: Surviving the Chinese Sword
  • Waste to Resource Technology Talking Top Tech
  • Green Infrastructure Toolbox

Sustainable Solid Waste Management Blog


Trending Technologies/Roving Reporter

Trying to keep up with the latest and greatest #trendingtech in public works? You're in luck! APWA is highlighting a new trending technology by way of our Talking Top Tech webinars, Roving Reporter Education Series, and new resources and programs. You can even share your own Roving Reporter videos on social media using #APWARovingReporter.

Waste to Resource Technology Talking Top Tech
Join us for a look at Waste to Resource Technology through the perspective of different lenses such as Public Works, Consultants, Industry, and International. Leaders in each field participated in a panel discussion and answered APWA member questions.


Career Development/Workforce

Resources

A Day in the Life of a Stormwater Manager
Pervious Concrete Demonstration – Stormwater Pollution Prevention Public Outreach


Between Two Cans
When the pandemic prevented Phoenix’s community-outreach staff from engaging with residents personally, they took it their educational efforts digitally. The result was a video series called Between Two Cans, a video that exemplifies Phoenix's Zero Waste team and their daily interactions with the community. Using social media to gather recycling/waste diversion questions, team members answer these questions through this video series which is then broadcasted in social media and other communication methods.


Certifications

CSM logo

Certified Stormwater Manager
The Stormwater Manager Certification is intended for experts in the public and private sectors who coordinate and implement stormwater management programs for city, county, state, provincial, and federal agencies. These individuals assist in administering drainage, flood control, and water quality programs.
 
Water quality programs include state and federal permit requirements related to stormwater runoff, including management of public education, illicit discharges, erosion control, post-development runoff BMPs, system maintenance, water quality monitoring, data analysis, and reporting. Drainage and flood control programs include operational maintenance of drainage systems, planning and construction of capital improvements, and basic knowledge of floodplain management.
 
These individuals may also be involved in budgetary oversight, long-term planning, policy development, and other administrative activities.


Exhibitor Showcase

Check out the Exhibitor Showcase to find the best resources for public works, as well as informational videos and product information. Plus, learn from subject matter experts in the Technology and Exhibitor Solutions Theaters!

Visit the Exhibitor Showcase

Featured Monthly Exhibitor:

Caterpillar is the world's leading manufacturer of construction equipment, and diesel and natural gas engines, providing exceptional value to help our customers succeed.


Publication Highlights

Available May 2021 in the APWA Store:

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
Drawdown maps, measures, models, and describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. For each solution, we describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world.

Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future
The core strategy of Sustainable Nation is the perfection of the design and governance of all neighborhoods to make them unique exemplars of community and sustainability. The tools to achieve this vision are more than 70 patterns for rebellious change written by industry leaders of thought and practice. Each pattern represents an aspirational, future-oriented ideal for a key aspect of a neighborhood. At once an urgent call to action and a guidebook for change, Sustainable Nation is an essential resource for urban designers, planners, and architects.


Committee News

The APWA Center for Sustainability (C4S) delivers resources, education, advocacy, and member engagement for public works professionals to implement environmentally, economically and socially responsible projects and services.