Envision’s Impact on Our Company’s Approach to Projects

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport – Runway 4L/22R and Associated Taxiways Reconstruction
Photo Credit: Wayne County Airport Authority


By: Kailey Eldredge, ENV SP, C&S Companies

The Envision rating system has had a multi-level impact on C&S’s approach to sustainable airport planning and design. We have come to recognize the applicability of Envision to the aviation industry and have discovered the benefits of integrating its principles not only into projects pursuing verification, but into all levels of planning efforts as well as into the planning principles held by our employees.

To date, C&S has been involved in two Envision-awarded airport projects. The hands-on experience of fully implementing the rating system provides a deep understanding of the process and transforms the guidance from the theoretical to the tangible. Completing the full assessment and undergoing verification instills confidence into those implementing the process and opens up the possibility and desire to apply Envision on future projects.

Through our experience, it is clear that Envision offers the maximum value at the onset of design or even planning. At the very start of a project we will gather a cross-section of the involved personnel and project team to identify project priorities and potential challenges of implementing sustainable measures on the project. We then prompt the brainstorming of ideas related to all categories of sustainability, often using the Envision credit categories to guide the discussion. Identifying these possible initiatives and discussing their integration early on ensures that sustainability will not become an after-thought of the project. It also allows for greater ease in the implementation of these initiatives as it seeks to prevent any back-stepping and redo of efforts, which ultimately puts a project in the best position to achieve maximum sustainability benefits including cost savings, reduced impacts, and enhanced efficiencies.

Beyond specific projects, we have also sought to incorporate Envision’s principles into broader planning efforts. For example, C&S developed an aviation sustainability plan for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works Aviation Division, which owns five general aviation airports. In developing the plan we used Envision as a resource in determining a balanced set of goals, objectives and strategies. Los Angeles County recently adopted Envision as policy for its infrastructure projects, so incorporating this guidance into the plan will help support achievement of this policy in the future. C&S took the incorporation of Envision into the plan one step further and created a set of guidelines that can be passed on to contactors, which identifies the County’s priorities in addressing sustainability in all projects, whether pursuing an Envision award or not. These guidelines specifically used the Envision credits to provide clarity and/or support the pursuit of an award (e.g., by identifying credits that are likely not applicable to projects at the airports).

While C&S has been fortunate enough to take projects from start to finish through the entire Envision process as well as incorporate the guidance into our planning efforts, we have also embraced its principles in other, less formal forms. For example, we often use Envision’s categorization of sustainability credits to help generate and organize sustainability strategy ideas both internally and externally; we have referenced the individual credits to avoid overlooking opportunities; and we have utilized the ‘Related Envision Credits’ information, provided for each credit, to identify and prompt additional closely tied efforts that could be integrated to increase a projects sustainability.

As C&S discovered the agile nature of the Envision system and its broad applicability, the merit in increasing the depth of internal knowledge on the system became obvious. In the fall of 2016, we organized an in-person training opportunity for employees. Twenty individuals from varying positions and levels within the company participated in this event and went on to receive their Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) credential. The efforts to support the integration of Envision did not stop there. A follow-up workshop that included staff and even client involvement was used to address and promote the implementation of Envision. These opportunities allowed employees who are not generally involved in the specifics of sustainable planning or design to develop their knowledge on the subject and gain a level of comfort integrating these concepts into their work. The broad inclusion of Envision at C&S allows for a broader inclusion of sustainability in all of the work we do.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport – Runway 4L/22R and Associated Taxiways Reconstruction
Received an Envision Silver Award in September 2016


City of Dallas Hosts Envision Credentialing Workshop

City of Dallas demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by hosting an Envision Credentialing class on Tuesday, April 25th. Thirty-eight staff members representing seven different City departments joined Freese and Nichols. Jill Jordan, Dallas Assistant City Manager, began the training by describing how her experience in the credentialing seminar showed her the opportunities to implement the process-oriented rating system. Freese and Nichols facilitators, Todd Buckingham, P.E., ENV SP, Certified ISI Trainer, and Tricia Hatley, P.E., LEED AP, ENV SP, led the class.

Prior to conducting training, Freese and Nichols met with Jordan and Majed Al-Ghafry, also a City Assistant City Manager, to discuss how to incorporate the City’s goals into the training. A top goal for the City was reinforcing the message that Envision can be used on multi-disciplinary projects and creating a common language for City employees and their consultants.

Dallas, partnering with Tarrant Regional Water District, has one Envision-verified project: the Integrated Pipeline Project (Platinum Award). A multi-modal urban roadway project is currently undergoing the verification process.