Alliant Energy’s West Riverside Energy Center Project Earns Envision Platinum

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 19, 2020 – The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced today that Alliant Energy’s West Riverside Energy Center project recently earned the Envision Platinum rating for sustainable infrastructure – the highest Envision recognition level. This is Alliant Energy’s sixth power generation facility to receive Envision recognition, which demonstrates the company’s commitment to sustainable infrastructure planning and design.

West Riverside Energy Center is an important part of Alliant Energy’s vision to transition to a cleaner energy future. The $660 million generating facility is a highly efficient combined cycle natural gas facility located near Beloit, Wisconsin. The generating station produces 730 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 550,000 homes.

The West Riverside Energy Center continues the company’s more than 90-year history of serving the Beloit community. Alliant Energy ensured a collaborative and transparent public participation process, engaging community leaders and representatives from over 60 community groups throughout the design and construction process. HDR served as Owner’s Engineer and led the Envision implementation process specified by Alliant Energy.  This was a project team effort between the owner, HDR as the Owners Engineer and AECOM, serving as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction contractor.


Envision and COVID-19 – Challenges & Opportunities

This document outlines some of the challenges that project teams are likely to face during these unprecedented times, and it also outlines strategies for overcoming them. For example, stakeholder engagement and public consultations will be difficult, if not impossible right now, due to restrictions on in-person and group gatherings, so this document acknowledges those challenges and provides teams with alternative approaches to achieving their sustainability goals.
Also within this document, teams are provided with a number of opportunities. For example, COVID-19 may cause supply-chain interruptions that could affect the choice and availability of materials. Therefore, there is an opportunity for project teams to explore whether materials from local suppliers are potentially more attainable than those received from suppliers who are located farther away.
The document also acknowledges that working remotely may pose significant challenges for project teams as they are preparing their projects for verification. Please view the Envision COVID-19 document in its entirety, and if you have any questions, please contact ISI communications.

PHX Sky Train – Stage 2 at Sky Harbor International Airport Earns Envision Gold Award

PHX Sky Train - Stage 2Daily vehicle count at the airport to be reduced by 20,000, reducing congestion and improving passenger experience and safety as second phase of automated people mover comes online.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 30, 2020 – The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced today that Stage 2 of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport Sky Train (PHX Sky Train®) is the recent recipient of an Envision Gold Award for sustainability. This is the airport’s first Envision award and the third Envision-awarded project in the State of Arizona.

Stage 2 of the PHX Sky Train® is underway at the Sky Harbor International Airport. This is an extension to the existing 3.2-mile PHX Sky Train, which currently operates between the 44th Street PHX Sky Train station and Terminal 3. When Stage 2 is complete and fully operational in 2022, it will extend another 2.5 miles to the airport’s rental car center. The project includes:

  • aircraft bridges that will carry two future taxiways over the train system;
  • an elevated station which will accommodate parking, ground transportation, and future development;
  • an elevated rental car center station built directly into the existing rental car center at the airport;
  • three traction power substations to provide power to 24 additional transit vehicles.

The project aims to enhance customer service and improve accessibility, ease traffic congestion on Sky Harbor Boulevard, and make travel easier and more efficient between terminals. The project will serve as a catalyst for long-term airport growth and adjacent private development. It also helps support the airport’s sustainability goals as it will help reduce the daily vehicle count by an estimated 20,000 vehicles per day. The project is funded from rental car facility charges and airline passenger facility charges; no taxpayer dollars are being used to fund this state-of-the-art, sustainable project.


ISI Marketing Campaign ‘Sustain it or Explain it’

When the COVID-19 crisis eventually abates, nations all over the world will turn to the infrastructure industry to rebuild, helping them bounce back economically. Building roads, bridges, dams, and the like creates good-paying, high-quality jobs, which is a wonderful opportunity for the infrastructure industry! However, if COVID-19 has taught us anything it is that our health and safety are tied directly to our natural world—and when nature is out of balance, our health and safety suffer greatly.

For the infrastructure industry, COVID-19 should be a wake-up call — a critical time to double down on our commitments to designing and building sustainable and resilient infrastructure as a way of protecting the environment, enhancing societal health, and boosting economies.

We can choose, here and now, to become part of the solution. We can reimagine our contributions to the world and focus on delivering shovel-worthy projects, not just shovel-ready. 

No one is denying that conventional building methods worked well in the past, but they are becoming increasingly inefficient. Unfortunately, if we continue designing and delivering infrastructure using outdated processes and practices, we could be adding to future problems, which is the last thing anybody wants. 

To that end, at this critical juncture, ISI is hopeful that more public and private agencies around the world turn to Envision sustainability as a way to drive projects forward. Envision works! 

How can Envision make a difference in these trying times?  Read our ‘Sustain or Explain’ one-pager.

We also encourage you to contact your local, state, and federal lawmakers and urge their support of smart stimulus spending bills.

Also, feel free to share a sustainability video associated with our campaign.

On-Line Magazine Interview with ISI’s President and CEO Anthony Kane

In light of COVID-19, Living Building Chronicle reached out to ISI’s President and CEO, Anthony Kane, to discuss how the pandemic could change the way organizations design and build infrastructure moving forward. As Anthony discusses in this Q&A interview, this crucial moment should be a wake-up call for the industry. As countries seek to rebuild economies, Anthony hopes that infrastructure stakeholders and lawmakers demand resilient methods and processes to also enhance health and well-being and protect the environment.  Focusing on future-forward design and delivery methods has never been more important.

Currently, ISI is conducting a marketing campaign called “Sustain it or Explain it.” The goal is to encourage the infrastructure industry to build SHOVEL-WORTHY projects not just SHOVEL-READY.  In conjunction with our members (Autocase, Infrastructure Ventures, AIT bridges and many others), we are encouraging lawmakers to focus on smart-stimulus spending.

Building infrastructure the right way, we can make a difference and help avert future pandemic. Working together, we can be part of the solution.

Read the Living Building Chronicle article here

Luuceo Consulting Hosts Video Podcast on Envision

Luuceo Consulting, Inc. has started a video podcast, and their second episode was focused entirely on Envision Sustainability. Both Bronwyn Worrick and Quin Mackenzie are experienced Envision professionals who help others learn about Envision and incorporate it into their infrastructure projects.

Quin is a Co-Founder of luuceo. She has facilitated planning and design processes for infrastructure projects across North America to enhance asset performance, specializing in the application of leading design frameworks such as the Envision® framework for sustainable infrastructure and the Integrated Design Process (IDP).

Bronwyn is also a Co-Founder of luuceo. She has experience leveraging holistic and systems-based approaches to strategy, risk, and design. To learn more about Luuceo, please visit their website.

Watch their video podcast.

ISI’s Melissa Peneycad Serving as Panelist on Environmental Law Institute Webinar

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. – April 22 – The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) is excited to announce that Managing Director Melissa Peneycad has been invited by the Environmental Law Institute to serve as a webinar panelist discussing issues related to COVID-19, climate change, and sustainability.  The webinar takes place this Thursday at noon Eastern time.

Melissa will provide an overview of Envision that will focus on planning, designing, and delivering sustainable and resilient infrastructure. She’ll highlight case studies, trends, and forecasting for the future.

Panelists will also discuss the following:

  • How the coronavirus might affect the developments of sustainable and resilient infrastructure;
  • How COVID-19 may impact the cost of development and certification;
  • How climate change could affect rising sea levels and infrastructure;
  • and, the threats and challenges that exist for sustainable infrastructure.

The webinar will be held on Thursday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time,  11 a.m. Central, 10 a.m. Mountain, and 9 a.m. Pacific.

This event is open to the public but you must register (there is a $50 fee for those who are not members of ELI). Note: there is no in-person availability for this event.


UNECE Appoints ISI’s Melissa Peneycad to Co-Chair International Project Team

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. – April 21, 2020 – The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure is proud to announce that the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has appointed ISI’s Managing Director Melissa Peneycad to serve as co-chairperson of an International Project Team that is developing an evaluation methodology to score infrastructure projects against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The goal of the tool – called the People-First PPP Impact Assessment Tool – is to score and validate Public Private Partnership (PPP) approaches, ensuring they lead to positive, measurable, intentional, and tangible United Nations SDG impacts.

The Impact Assessment Tool will also help governments, private sector agencies, lenders, and international organizations apply the method to all PPP projects.

“Today, we need, more than ever, to mobilise the business community to enter into PPPs on a large and unprecedented scale. It is important to give the private sector the incentives and detailed road maps to build back stronger and work on a project impact assessment tool is of great importance. The UNECE and other UN bodies have limited practical experience in developing such instruments, and we are highly appreciative of partnering with Envision and in having Melissa’s unique expertise and technical know-how in this work as Chair and in the work that lies ahead to make it operational and available to an international community,” said Geoffrey Hamilton, Chief, UNECE International Public Private Partnerships Centre of Excellence in Geneva, Switzerland.

As one of the co-chairpersons for this initiative, Melissa brings extensive experience to the endeavor. Throughout her 18-year career, Melissa has developed and implemented several sustainability standards, certification programs and frameworks. Moreover, she currently leads ISI’s global sustainable infrastructure verification program and has verified the sustainability of more than 70 projects valued at over US $18 billion, with another US $18 billion in assets currently under her purview.

Melissa will be helping lead a team of one-hundred international experts and is eager to make a difference. “This is a wonderful honor, and I am proud to be part of this international team. I’m also excited to show the global community how perfectly Envision aligns with People-First Projects and the tool itself,” Peneycad said. “A vital component of this international initiative is to certify that the Impact Assessment Tool is created based on empirical evidence from real world project case studies. That means ISI’s Envision verified case studies and best practices could contribute to the tool’s design.”

Moving forward in 2020, the international team will continue to collaborate on the Impact Assessment Tool with the hopes of finishing by the end of the year.

To learn more about the Impact Assessment Tool, please read the UNECE press release.


About Envision®: Envision is the product of a collaboration between ISI, which was founded by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the American Public Works Association (APWA), and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Media Contact: For inquiries regarding this press release, please contact ISI’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Dyan Lee, at

ISEC Pedestrian Bridge Earns Envision Bronze Award

Photo provided by Payette / Tanguy Marquis

Washington D.C. – April 16, 2020 – The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) Pedestrian Bridge (PedX) at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, is the recent recipient of the Envision® Bronze award for sustainable infrastructure, designated by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). To reach Bronze status, a project must demonstrate that it delivers environmental, social, and economic benefits above standard or conventional practice.

Project Context and Scope

The ISEC PedX project is the construction of an elevated pedestrian crossing that connects the new ISEC at Northeastern University’s Huntington Avenue Campus in Boston with the Fenway and Roxbury communities. Spanning 132 feet, the bridge improves public connections between the University’s facilities on the south side of five Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Amtrak rail lines that separate it from the main campus. The $17 million project mimics the architecture of the new ISEC building, allowing students, visitors, and community members to pass easily and safety between the campuses intersected by the rail corridor, all while offering views of the Boston skyline and the bold architecture of the ISEC building. This project fulfills part of the Northeastern University Campus Master Plan.

“The pedestrian bridge is an aesthetic treasure in the heart of Northeastern’s campus, providing a much-needed connection from the main campus to the newly developed Columbus Avenue corridor,” said John Park, Hill International project manager. On behalf of Northeastern University, the Hill team managed the design and construction of the pedestrian bridge from the conceptual “Arc” structure in 2014 to occupancy of the bridge in 2019.

Northeastern University worked in close collaboration with Skanska, Payette, Arup, Hill International, and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) to deliver this visually stunning, award-winning, sustainable project.

The Envision system examines the impact of sustainable infrastructure projects as a whole through five distinct categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Resilience. These key areas contribute to the positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on a community.



UNECE Nominates ISI’s Melissa Peneycad to Co-Chair Team of Experts Working on Infrastructure Tool

The current medical and economic emergency has sharply questioned the preparedness of our infrastructure to provide acute healthcare and other critical services. Could it have helped, if Governments, the private sector and civil society had at their disposal a tool to determine if they are resilient enough for such immense challenges?

UNECE’s work to develop an evaluation methodology to score infrastructure projects against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a first step in this direction. At a virtual meeting on 23 March 2020, the UNECE Project Team, established in January 2020, unanimously agreed to integrate most robust resilience criteria into the People-first Project Impact Assessment Tool that is being developed.

This new UNECE tool will make it possible to evaluate and test the quality of infrastructure and public services including Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). Once the international community emerges from the current crisis, Governments will be able to use it to assess the resilience of their new infrastructure projects – and thus “build back stronger”.

The UNECE-led international Project Team consists of over 100 experts from public and private sectors, academia and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). They work in five sub teams to define benchmarks or evaluation criteria and a scoring system for People-first outcomes. These are: access and equity; economic effectiveness; environmental sustainability and resilience; replicability; and stakeholder engagement.


Ms. Melissa Peneycad, Managing Director of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure based in Toronto (Canada), one of the three co-chairs of the team, stressed that “this People-first Project Impact Assessment Tool can set a unique standard for all interested stakeholders and will be a great contribution to the SDGs by incentivizing stakeholders to improve projects”.


She leads the Project Team together with two further co-chairs: Mr. James Stewart, Vice Chair of KPMG, and Mr. Joan Enric Ricart, Chairman of the Strategic Management Department, IESE Business School based in Barcelona (Spain).

After finalising its work on benchmarking and scoring, the Project Team will develop an implementation system aimed at providing a cost-free mechanism by which Governments receive a ‘score’ for their projects. This work is being carried out in cooperation with the Geneva-based Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation.

The experts’ work on the evaluation methodology and implementation system is undertaken as part of UNECE’s ‘People-first’ approach to PPPs, advocated by UNECE and its member States to make the PPP model fit for purpose for the SDGs. The intergovernmental body overseeing this work is UNECE’s Committee on Innovation, Competitiveness and Public-Private Partnerships, convening representatives of UNECE’s 56 member States.

For further information, please visit the following page:

You can also view the UNECE original press release on their website by clicking here.