Team Members “Envision” the Future

Members of the Environmental Sustainability Team (EST) and other DPWES, Park Authority and Vehicle Services employees reached another milestone through training in Envision on November 2 and 3. Chris Meoli, Engineer III, Solid Waste Management Program, and chair of the Environmental Sustainability Team took the lead in arranging for county employees to take the Envision training. Envision is a groundbreaking resource for professionals involved in planning, designing, building and maintaining civil infrastructure, according to the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) which developed the tool in collaboration with Harvard University’s Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure. Twenty-three employees participated in the training on the first day and their knowledge was tested on the second day.

Envision is:

  1. A rating system for sustainable infrastructure:
    1. It provides the public works industry with detailed guidance and metrics to help infrastructure projects of every type and size become more sustainable.
  2. A decision-making guide not a set of prescriptive measures
    1. It guides owners, communities, designers, builders, regulators and policymakers in collaborating to make more informed decisions about the sustainability of infrastructure.

Through Envision an agency involved in infrastructure design, construction or operation – like DPWES – can form a unique community of partners, practitioners, other government agencies, and contractors. For example, the City of Roanoke’s Stormwater Utility intends to incorporate sustainable practices and measures into all of their future stormwater infrastructure projects through the use of the Envision rating system. “Envision is for infrastructure what LEED is for buildings,” states the ISI web page. Envision was created by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure and focuses on the importance of sustainability and protecting the environment. To quote the City of Roanoke web page, “Using Envision in the various stages of stormwater improvement projects will enhance the health of streams and reduce flooding and will move Roanoke toward a more sustainable and resilient future.”

“We think Envision can assist us in our quest for a holistic approach to sustainable infrastructure and service provision which is at the heart of our mission to improve quality of life, and protect the health and environment in Fairfax County,” said Juan Reyes, Assistant Director, Business Support Services, DPWES.

Denise Nelson, P.E., ENV SP, and LEED AP, of the Berkley Group taught the class. “It was an honor to introduce Envision as a tool to support Fairfax County, a leader in the industry with a strong commitment to sustainable infrastructure practices,” Denise said. Envision encourages collaboration among departments and stakeholders, provides a common language for transparency, includes metrics for quantifying impacts, and encourages life cycle considerations. “Using Envision will expand the county’s procedures for a more holistic and comprehensive approach to meeting community goals,” she said.

Denise is a leading expert on the Envision system. While at Greeley and Hansen in Richmond, she was one of the first people to earn the ENV SP credential, become an ISI-approved Envision trainer (one of only two in Virginia), and become a third-party project reviewer and she reviewed the first project to receive an Envision award. Later she joined ISI staff to serve as the “Face of Envision.” In her role as ISI Vice President of Public Education, she was responsible for all education, outreach and marketing efforts. She also served as the manager of the third-party review and recognition program. In her current role at the Berkley Group, she provides Envision training and support in integrating Envision concepts into infrastructure development procedures. To date she has trained 230 professionals to earn the Envision credential including staff at Roanoke, Newport News and Blacksburg.

James Patteson, Director DPWES, said, “I’m excited to get this many folks trained (in Envision). Each business area is taking a couple of projects through the program next year and then we are going to do a ‘lessons learned’ review and decide on our next steps from there.” The Environmental Sustainability Team and trained ENV SPs will be working with business areas in the coming months to select projects to evaluate and rate using Envision. The Huntington Levee project, now under construction, has already been formally evaluated using Envision and an application for an award has been submitted to ISI.

The first step in using Envision is to create a report card or benchmark for recently completed projects. The Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system is a comprehensive framework of 60 sustainability criteria that address the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts to sustainability in project design, construction, and operation. These criteria—called “credits”—are arranged in five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk. Benchmarking projects – or taking a ‘snapshot’ of projects – is essential to ensure future infrastructure improvement projects are sustainable and resilient.

Once the benchmark evaluation is complete, a summary of the findings includes recommendations for future projects. The recommendations may span all phases of a project, including planning, design and construction. For example, in the planning phase a recommendation may be made to update the capital project rating system; in the design phase a recommendation to incorporate street trees may be made; in the construction phase it may be recommended that only regional materials be used and to maximize the use of recycled products. At that point the process includes applying the recommendations to projects that are already designed but await funding, so changes can be made to a current design before the project goes out to bid.

“We learned through training and credentialing how powerful a tool Envision can become to influence decision making to help integrate sustainability in public works infrastructure projects,” Chris Meoli said.

Istanbul’s New Airport is First European Infrastructure Project to Seek Envision Sustainability Verification

The İstanbul New Airport infrastructure project in Turkey aims to become the first and largest infrastructure project outside North America to obtain Envision sustainability verification. The Envision system rates sustainable infrastructure projects across the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts.

With a vision of İstanbul New Airport as one of the world’s top aviation hubs, the airport project strives to set an example not only as an innovative infrastructure project, but also a driving force making significant contributions to Turkey’s sustainable development.

The İstanbul New Airport will operate to more than 350 destinations with two terminals, six runways and an annual passenger capacity of 200 million people, once all the phases are complete. As part of the project, Istanbul’s New Airport will follow all internationally recognized sustainability practices, particularly related to the environment, biodiversity, ground improvement, local employment, supply chain and subcontracting network, human rights and stakeholder relations.

İGA, the company responsible for constructing and operating the project for 25 years, completed an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Study for the İstanbul New Airport project in 2015 according to International Finance Corporation (IFC) Standards and the Equator Principles, and now the project is targeting verification in accordance with the Envision Rating System program, offered by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.

Through this reporting process for Envision, İGA has vastly improved its sustainability practices and achieved a sustainability culture within its organization. For today’s world, sustainability is key for development, and many infrastructure projects are working to adopt sustainability practices. Communication of sustainability programs plays a vital role for popularization among stakeholders and sector players. As a leading company with sustainable development projects, İGA also sets high standards for the communication strategies in its market and creates a model for others to follow.

“With Envision we have the best possible partner on board”, says Ulku Ozeren, Director of Environment and Sustainability; “Sustainability culture is crucial to us. We constantly strive for the best. The verification process will help us building an exemplary airport which will further enhance the development of Turkey.”

As a collaborative effort between ISI and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the Envision system rates the impact of sustainable infrastructure projects as a whole. The ISI Envision system measures sustainable infrastructure in five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Natural World, Resource Allocation, and Climate and Risk. These key areas contribute to the positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on a community.

“We are delighted to see interest in Envision expand to Europe and globally,” said ISI President and CEO John Stanton. “We are looking forward to reviewing the sustainability of such a large, high-profile project as the İstanbul New Airport with the Envision system.”

To learn more about the İstanbul New Airport, please visit www.igairport.com.

Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners Passes Resolution Adopting Use of Envision

On June 6th 2017 the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution adopting Envision and “directing the County Mayor to incorporate Envision into the planning, design, construction, and operation of County-funded Infrastructure Projects, where practicable and feasible”. The resolution was sponsored by Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and indicates it was inspired by the pioneering work of the Department of Water and Sewer. Miami-Dade Water and Sewer had conducted a two-day Envision training course in May 2016 to launch their internal use of Envision.

The Board of County Commissioners also supported the resolution on the grounds that Miami-Dade already has green building requirements for certain buildings but not the types of infrastructure covered under Envision. The resolution indicates that the county is embarking on a historically significant capital construction campaign for civil infrastructure and that, “the Envision rating system should be employed by Miami-Dade County to meet our sustainability goals”.

The resolution not only adopts Envision for County-funded civil infrastructure projects but also “directs the County Mayor or County Mayor’s designee to develop a plan to (1) train the County staff who are responsible for civil infrastructure projects in becoming Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) credentialed and (2) provide incentives for County contractors on civil infrastructure projects to become Envision rating credentialed.” This work is being coordinated with the Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, Office of Resilience.

See the full resolution text here: http://www.miamidade.gov/govaction/matter.asp?matter=171122&file=true&yearFolder=Y2017

Airports’ Increasing Interest in Envision

(Image Caption: Nashville International Airport Water Source Geothermal System)

By Carly Shannon, ENV SP, LEED AP BD+C, C&S Companies

On June 15, 2017, nearly 70 airport representatives, consultants, and partners participated in an Envision & Airports webinar hosted by the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) Sustainability Working Group. Organized by the group’s leadership, Brendan Reed of San Diego International Airport and Danielle Bower of Philadelphia International Airport, this was the second of two webinars focused specifically on Envision and its use in the aviation industry. The first provided a general overview, while the more recent event dug into actual application of the rating system to airport projects. Speakers included representatives from Nashville International, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, and Portland International airports. Sharing benefits, lessons learned, and key takeaways from their personal experiences, the speakers will help inform other airports as they move toward more sustainable infrastructure.

The variety of projects—a runway reconstruction, water source geothermal system, and a quick-turnaround rental car facility—demonstrate not only the wide-ranging applicability of Envision, but also its flexibility. Each of these diverse projects benefitted from the rating system through cost savings, stakeholder inclusion, reduced environmental impacts, and improvements to the design process. Although there is a learning curve associated with any new guidance or tool, each airport is looking forward to integrating Envision into future efforts.

The level of engagement during the June webinar and the speakers’ positive takeaways made one thing clear—Envision is gaining traction in the airport world.

(Water Source Geothermal at the Nashville International Airport Received Envision Silver Award )

New Stantec CEO is credentialed Envision Sustainability Professional

Stantec announced today that following a successful eight-year tenure as the Company’s president and chief executive officer, Bob Gomes will retire at year’s end, effective December 31, 2017. The firm also announced that Gord Johnston, executive vice president of Stantec’s Infrastructure business operating unit, was selected by the board of directors to assume the role of president and chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2018. Johnston has more than 30 years of industry leadership experience, including more than 20 years with Stantec. He has also played an active role in helping guide the Company’s Strategic Plan over the past nine years.

“Gord’s appointment and this transition are exciting milestones in a succession plan that the board of directors has been working on for the past three years,” says Aram Keith, chair of Stantec’s board of directors. “Gord’s people-focused leadership style, industry expertise, and market understanding will build on the success Bob has helped the Company achieve. Gord is focused on the future and helping the Company achieve its long-term strategic goals.”

To ensure a smooth transition, Gomes will work with the new CEO until retiring on December 31. Executive vice president and chief financial officer, Dan Lefaivre; executive vice president and chief operating officer, Scott Murray; and executive vice president and chief business officer, Tino DiManno will continue in their roles.

New Perspective, Established Experience
During his Stantec career, Johnston has progressed in various leadership roles after joining the firm’s Edmonton-based Water practice in 1990. He later served as the regional business leader for Stantec’s Water group in Western Canada before assuming the role of business leader for Stantec’s Water business line in 2010. In 2015, he was named to his most recent post as the executive vice president for the firm’s Infrastructure business operating unit. As a company leader, Johnston served on Stantec’s Disclosure Committee, the Integrity Management Team, and the Executive Health, Safety, Security, and Environment Committee. Johnston has also been active in the firm’s acquisition sourcing and integration efforts, particularly with MWH Global, Stantec’s largest acquisition to date.

A recognized industry advocate, he has served on the board of directors for the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC) in Canada, and as past president of the Consulting Engineers of Alberta. Johnston earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Alberta before completing the Harvard Business School’s Leading Professional Services Firms program. Additionally, he is a credentialed Envision Sustainability Professional through the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. In his role as CEO, Johnston will relocate to Edmonton, Alberta.

“Bob’s leadership has paved an excellent path for us to follow and grow,” says Johnston. “We will continue to grow and strengthen our global footprint while maintaining our position as a top-tier service provider dedicated to bringing world-class expertise to our clients in local communities around the globe.”

A Recognized Legacy
Originally joining the Company in 1988 as an urban land project manager, Gomes held several leadership positions before being appointed president and CEO in 2009. During his time in that role, Gomes led the Company through a sustained period of growth by executing key strategies outlined in the Company’s Strategic Plan. Among the highlights is Stantec’s successful expansion into multiple global markets, including Europe, India, New Zealand, Australia, South America, and the Middle East, among other geographies. Additionally, the Company enjoyed growth in gross revenue of 229 percent from $1.5 billion in Q1 2009 to $4.8 billion in Q1 2017 while completing nearly 50 acquisitions (including the largest in the Company’s history with the 2016 purchase of MWH Global).

Gomes will remain as a director on Stantec’s board. Aram Keith offered Gomes the board’s gratitude.

“Bob will leave a considerable legacy, and we’re grateful for his inspiring leadership over the years,” says Keith. “We’ll look forward to working with Bob and Gord over the balance of the year to ensure the Company is positioned for continued success through a robust transition plan.”

 

     Stantec announces the appointment of new President and CEO, Gord Johnston – Stantec

Summary of ISI’s President Congressional Briefing

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign candidate Donald Trump promised a $1 trillion ten-year plan to modernize infrastructure including roads, wastewater treatment plants, bridges, transit and power systems. Since assuming office, the Trump Administration has been focused on other legislative priorities and sundry investigations into alleged improprieties. Nonetheless, expectations remain high for increased spending on infrastructure that boosts local job creation, improves constituency services and increases tax revenue. While the legislative priorities are health care and then tax reform, Capitol Hill’s focus on infrastructure is increasing daily.

Amid this increasing attention, the Trump Administration unveiled its 2018 budget proposal that, among other things, addresses infrastructure spending. To the great disappointment of many, the proposed budget included the following reductions in accounts that traditionally supported annual infrastructure spending: Corps of Engineers (dredging, port construction) – down 16%; Department of Commerce (manufacturing infrastructure) – down 16%; Department of Transportation (roads, transit) – down 13%; Department of Interior (roads, park facilities) – down 12%, among additional reductions. Ironically, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently released their quadrennial infrastructure report card that called for $4.6 Trillion in increased spending over the next ten years and assigned a poor rating of D+ to our nation’s efforts to provide essential public infrastructure. While the President’s budget represents a wish list, it is merely a starting point for Congressional budget deliberations. Nonetheless, the budget proposal stands in stark contrast to the broad public expectations the President forged on the election trail.

To assist Members of Congress and their staff with greater awareness of infrastructure issues, the Energy and Environment Study Institute (EESI) launched a new guest lecturer series on infrastructure. The first event in the speaker series, Investing in US Infrastructure for Maximum Dividends, was held on May 12. The event featured Tom Smith of ASCE, John Stanton of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) and Mariana Silva of Infrastructure Planning & Finance, Nathan Associates Inc.   Video, audio, speaker’s slides and presentation abstracts from the event can all be found here: http://www.eesi.org/051217infrastructure

ISI’s President John Stanton presented on upcoming changes to Envision® that will be released in 2018. The next version, Envision 3.0 expands upon 2.0 by adding the construction phase to the planning and design tool. It increases the focus on community resilience, health and safety, and quality of life, as well as adding indicators on economic analysis. Local governments, agencies, and infrastructure owners will find the next version of Envision even more intuitive to implement on projects. With the launch of Envision 3.0 ISI will also implement a credential maintenance program with continuing education for ENV SPs.

Stanton also addressed requests from New York:

(http://sustainableinfrastructure.org/envision/project-awards/26th-ward-wastewater-treatment-plant/ ), Los Angeles ( http://sustainableinfrastructure.org/envision/project-awards/south-la-wetland-park/ ) and other C40 cities, that ISI innovate upon the existing Envision individual-project platform to expand infrastructure planning to a citywide portfolio-level approach. Using New York and Los Angeles as case studies, ISI seeks to demonstrate that sustainable infrastructure approaches can efficiently apply across an entire suite of city infrastructure investments. Best practices learned will create a prototype system for adoption by any city to track and benchmark sustainability and resilience performance across all infrastructure systems.

The goal is a streamlined, holistic planning tool that empowers city resiliency officers to coordinate, integrate and compare citywide infrastructure efforts and collectively benchmark them. Success means increased understanding and integration of infrastructure development across departments and construction schedules, improved communication through a single framework, and enhanced interagency cooperation.

Resilient cities start with smarter, sustainable infrastructure, and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure is a recognized leader in this field. Our portfolio-wide management tool will empower resiliency officers to catalyze coordination of infrastructure investment around their sustainability and climate goals. We will leverage investment in cities by providing sustainability officers with a tool to amplify their effectiveness in delivering superior social, environmental and economic infrastructure outcomes.

Book Launch and Conference for Planning Sustainable Cities

The Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University has published a book on how Envision can be used to make better informed decisions at the urban scale.

To learn more about the event go to: http://research.gsd.harvard.edu/zofnass/menu/events/forthcoming/

To register for the event go to: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/planning-sustainable-cities-conference-registration-26849540699?aff=PSC

Sustainability Crosses All Sectors

The projects submitted for the Envision verification and award program cross all infrastructure sectors. While there are projects in the solid waste, energy, and land development sectors, the majority of projects are related to water and transportation infrastructure.

 

type

There are a wide variety of transportation projects in the award program. Currently only one transportation project has been recognized (the Low Level Road), but there are several streetcar, bridge, rail, airport, and additional rail projects in the program. The majority of projects in the award program are in the water sector. This includes wastewater collection and treatment, water treatment and distribution, and stormwater projects.

water  transpo

The Potential of Crowdfunding for Public-Private Partnerships

Alternative delivery methods like design-build and public-private partnerships (P3s) tend to promote more sustainable outcomes by including key project team members in multiple phases of a project’s life cycle. In addition, P3s have the opportunity to expand the stakeholder list by incorporating alternative funding resources. Guest blogger Brian Ross from InfraShares discusses how crowdfunding can promote community support for infrastructure projects.

Around the world, Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) play an increasingly critical role in meeting the need for investment in public infrastructure. However, P3s in the United States often fail to succeed due to political opposition, lack of transparency, and public resistance to private control of critical infrastructure assets. Moreover, direct investment in infrastructure P3s is typically limited to institutional investors, creating limited markets for capital and reducing the economic impact of infrastructure investment to the local community.

However, recent changes to securities legislation under the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Start-Ups (JOBS) Act have removed restrictions on general solicitation of securities to the public, allowing for “crowdfunding” of equity and debt investment in new projects (referred to in this article as “investment crowdfunding”). Investment crowdfunding is a way to source money for a project by asking a large number of backers to each invest a relatively small amount and receive equity shares, or debt, of the project. Because the “special purpose entity” established by the P3 developer is a new venture, it is able to take advantage of the new investment crowdfunding regulations.

The new legislation has fueled a growing investment crowdfunding industry. Forbes reported in March, 2015 that crowdfunding investors injected $1 billion into the U.S. real estate market last year. Similar to commercial real estate projects, investment crowdfunding allows infrastructure developers to raise equity from local individual investors, which benefits a P3 in many ways including: Increased public and political support; increased transparency; and promotion of locally-serving projects with funding from multiple sources. As an indication of the potential for crowdfunding investment in P3s, the Virginia DOT’s Office of P3 (VAP3) recently included crowd-financing in their 2015 P3 Project Pipeline Report citing an enhanced P3 model that “can provide another level of competition for those who wish to invest in P3 projects at the equity level, open the door for public involvement, especially local communities as an equity partner in the P3 model, and create opportunities for risk sharing, idea exchange, additional transparency, and enhanced public engagement.”

Community investment and increased transparency: One common complaint about P3s from elected officials and community members is concern over private ownership of critical infrastructure assets. However, allowing for public investment in a P3 through investment

crowdfunding, especially from those served by the project, allows for some portion of local ownership of the project. Investment crowdfunding will also provide the opportunity to keep some of a P3 project’s investment returns within the community served by the project; thereby increasing the economic impact of the infrastructure development.

Having public investment also increases P3 transparency. Information related to the risks of investing in the P3 would be disclosed publicly, as required by the SEC, to interested investors performing their due diligence. Disclosure documents that would be publicly accessible on the crowdfunding platform for interested investors may include: the project risk register; all publicly available procurement documents; any available Public Offering Statement or Official Statement for bonds; contract agreement documents; and project studies, such as ridership or traffic and revenue studies. After an investment is made, updated documents, audited financial statements, quarterly progress reports or any other relevant documentation would also be provided to investors to give them necessary information to evaluate the performance of their investment.

Most importantly, crowdfunding investment for a P3 can help promote sustainable infrastructure projects. Investors who support sustainable infrastructure can vote with their dollars and choose to invest in projects that have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability by being Envision rated. If sustainable infrastructure projects are shown to be preferred by investors over non-sustainable projects, then infrastructure planners will be motivated to ensure sustainability in order to increase their competitiveness in the capital markets. Furthermore, if project sponsors can demonstrate a social return associated with the sustainability of their project, investors may accept a lower financial return, thereby decreasing the cost of capital, and increasing the economic viability of project.

How does it work? Once the P3 project is awarded, the private developer works with a platform like InfraShares to develop and run an investment crowdfunding campaign. The developer will define the amount and type of securities, provide offering memos, and determine the duration of the campaign. For 506(c) offerings the amount that can be raised is unlimited but investors must be accredited; for Regulation A+ offerings the current limit is $50 million from unaccredited investors but audited financials are required; and for Title III CF offerings capital raises of up to $1 million from un-accredited investors are allowed with reduced reporting requirements. The type of capital is very flexible and can be equity, preferred equity, mezzanine debt, convertible notes and corporate notes.

The investment crowdfunding campaign itself is run very similar to the model used by commercial real estate investment crowdfunding sites such as Fundrise, RealtyShares and RealtyMogul. Project information is posted on the site that can be viewed by potential investors that includes commercial terms, pro-forma financial models and a video describing the project (an NDA can be required if desired by the developer). Investors visiting the site can

browse by project type, geography, security type, internal rate of return, etc. to find an offering that fits their investment objectives. If the investor can post questions to the developer or the investment community in general in order to aid with performing due diligence. The site will also offer comparison and analysis tools to help investors determine which projects are right for them.

Following investment, InfraShares acts as an ongoing engagement tool for the investors. The platform would distribute all financial statements, disclosures and construction/O&M updates issued by the SPE. InfraShares also facilitates all disbursements of returns to investors and allows investors to track the performance of their individual investments or portfolio of projects. Any secondary market for existing securities would also be facilitated by InfraShares, allowing investors to buy and sell securities as their individual liquidity needs require.

Summary: The goal of the crowd-financed P3 model is to facilitate involvement of the public, especially local community members, as a major partner in the current P3 model. Investment crowdfunding is a proven model for increasing public engagement and transparency in sophisticated development projects and new ventures. In addition, aligning the interests of the P3 developer, public agency and the crowd-financed investors, can act as a catalyst to facilitate smoother delivery of the project during construction and O&M.

These benefits can be achieved with little cost to the developer because of the technology and expertise leveraged by the InfraShares team. For more information, visit Infrashares.com or contact Brian Ross (embed: brianross@infrashares.com).

Alternative delivery methods like design-build and public-private partnerships (P3s) tend to promote more sustainable outcomes by including key project team members in multiple phases of a project’s life cycle. In addition, P3s have the opportunity to expand the stakeholder list by incorporating alternative funding resources. Guest blogger Brian Ross from InfraShares discusses how crowdfunding can promote community support for infrastructure projects.

Around the world, Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) play an increasingly critical role in meeting the need for investment in public infrastructure. However, P3s in the United States often fail to succeed due to political opposition, lack of transparency, and public resistance to private control of critical infrastructure assets. Moreover, direct investment in infrastructure P3s is typically limited to institutional investors, creating limited markets for capital and reducing the economic impact of infrastructure investment to the local community.

However, recent changes to securities legislation under the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Start-Ups (JOBS) Act have removed restrictions on general solicitation of securities to the public, allowing for “crowdfunding” of equity and debt investment in new projects (referred to in this article as “investment crowdfunding”). Investment crowdfunding is a way to source money for a project by asking a large number of backers to each invest a relatively small amount and receive equity shares, or debt, of the project. Because the “special purpose entity” established by the P3 developer is a new venture, it is able to take advantage of the new investment crowdfunding regulations.

The new legislation has fueled a growing investment crowdfunding industry. Forbes reported in March, 2015 that crowdfunding investors injected $1 billion into the U.S. real estate market last year. Similar to commercial real estate projects, investment crowdfunding allows infrastructure developers to raise equity from local individual investors, which benefits a P3 in many ways including: Increased public and political support; increased transparency; and promotion of locally-serving projects with funding from multiple sources. As an indication of the potential for crowdfunding investment in P3s, the Virginia DOT’s Office of P3 (VAP3) recently included crowd-financing in their 2015 P3 Project Pipeline Report citing an enhanced P3 model that “can provide another level of competition for those who wish to invest in P3 projects at the equity level, open the door for public involvement, especially local communities as an equity partner in the P3 model, and create opportunities for risk sharing, idea exchange, additional transparency, and enhanced public engagement.”

Community investment and increased transparency: One common complaint about P3s from elected officials and community members is concern over private ownership of critical infrastructure assets. However, allowing for public investment in a P3 through investment

crowdfunding, especially from those served by the project, allows for some portion of local ownership of the project. Investment crowdfunding will also provide the opportunity to keep some of a P3 project’s investment returns within the community served by the project; thereby increasing the economic impact of the infrastructure development.

Having public investment also increases P3 transparency. Information related to the risks of investing in the P3 would be disclosed publicly, as required by the SEC, to interested investors performing their due diligence. Disclosure documents that would be publicly accessible on the crowdfunding platform for interested investors may include: the project risk register; all publicly available procurement documents; any available Public Offering Statement or Official Statement for bonds; contract agreement documents; and project studies, such as ridership or traffic and revenue studies. After an investment is made, updated documents, audited financial statements, quarterly progress reports or any other relevant documentation would also be provided to investors to give them necessary information to evaluate the performance of their investment.

Most importantly, crowdfunding investment for a P3 can help promote sustainable infrastructure projects. Investors who support sustainable infrastructure can vote with their dollars and choose to invest in projects that have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability by being Envision rated. If sustainable infrastructure projects are shown to be preferred by investors over non-sustainable projects, then infrastructure planners will be motivated to ensure sustainability in order to increase their competitiveness in the capital markets. Furthermore, if project sponsors can demonstrate a social return associated with the sustainability of their project, investors may accept a lower financial return, thereby decreasing the cost of capital, and increasing the economic viability of project.

How does it work? Once the P3 project is awarded, the private developer works with a platform like InfraShares to develop and run an investment crowdfunding campaign. The developer will define the amount and type of securities, provide offering memos, and determine the duration of the campaign. For 506(c) offerings the amount that can be raised is unlimited but investors must be accredited; for Regulation A+ offerings the current limit is $50 million from unaccredited investors but audited financials are required; and for Title III CF offerings capital raises of up to $1 million from un-accredited investors are allowed with reduced reporting requirements. The type of capital is very flexible and can be equity, preferred equity, mezzanine debt, convertible notes and corporate notes.

The investment crowdfunding campaign itself is run very similar to the model used by commercial real estate investment crowdfunding sites such as Fundrise, RealtyShares and RealtyMogul. Project information is posted on the site that can be viewed by potential investors that includes commercial terms, pro-forma financial models and a video describing the project (an NDA can be required if desired by the developer). Investors visiting the site can

browse by project type, geography, security type, internal rate of return, etc. to find an offering that fits their investment objectives. If the investor can post questions to the developer or the investment community in general in order to aid with performing due diligence. The site will also offer comparison and analysis tools to help investors determine which projects are right for them.

Following investment, InfraShares acts as an ongoing engagement tool for the investors. The platform would distribute all financial statements, disclosures and construction/O&M updates issued by the SPE. InfraShares also facilitates all disbursements of returns to investors and allows investors to track the performance of their individual investments or portfolio of projects. Any secondary market for existing securities would also be facilitated by InfraShares, allowing investors to buy and sell securities as their individual liquidity needs require.

Summary: The goal of the crowd-financed P3 model is to facilitate involvement of the public, especially local community members, as a major partner in the current P3 model. Investment crowdfunding is a proven model for increasing public engagement and transparency in sophisticated development projects and new ventures. In addition, aligning the interests of the P3 developer, public agency and the crowd-financed investors, can act as a catalyst to facilitate smoother delivery of the project during construction and O&M.

These benefits can be achieved with little cost to the developer because of the technology and expertise leveraged by the InfraShares team. For more information, visit Infrashares.com or contact Brian Ross.

Envision Awards in the US and Canada

By the end of 2015, nine projects earned Envision awards. These projects represent a variety of infrastructure types across the US and Canada.

Water pipes, wastewater treatment plants, stormwater systems, roads, energy generation, and more. Nine projects have completed third-party verification and received awards across the US and Canada as shown in the illustration.

These projects are:

  1. The William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery, Anchorage, Alaska, received an Envision Gold award in July 2013. This brownfield redevelopment incorporated sophisticated recirculation technology that reduced the water and energy normally used by conventional hatcheries by 95 percent while supporting sport fishing industry. The project restored and improved a public park-like setting and viewing areas with trails, boardwalk, and educational signs while protecting the on-site stream.
  2. The Snow Creek Stream Environment Zone Restoration, Placer County, California, earned an Envision Platinum award in November 2013. Another brownfield restoration, this project also restored historic wetlands and the stream environment zone by removing fill and debris and reestablishing vegetation and wildlife habitats. This project also created a public park with walking paths.
  3. The South Los Angeles Wetland Park in the city of Los Angeles, California, earned an Envision Platinum award in January 2014. The purpose of the wetland was to enhance the quality of stormwater runoff by treating runoff from a 525-acre contributing watershed and create a new public park in a community with little green space.
  4. The Sun Valley Watershed Multi-benefit Project in Los Angeles County, California, earned an Envision Platinum award in August 2014. The project consists of several improvements in the watershed to manage stormwater runoff, provide flood protection, improve watershed health, increase open space and recreational opportunities, and increase wildlife habitat.
  5. The Line J, Section 1 Pipeline in the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) of north central Texas earned an Envision Silver award in October 2014. This two mile, 108-inch diameter pipeline delivers water from reservoir for use to meet potable demand. The project improves the ability to meet growing water demands and future projections.
  6. The Grand Bend Area Wastewater Treatment Facility in Ontario, Canada, on the shoreline of Lake Huron, earned an Envision Platinum award in February 2015. The project expanded the capacity of the facility by converting an existing lagoon into an extended aeration mechanical treatment facility and wetland nature reserve.
  7. 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plant in New York City, New York, earned an Envision Silver award in August 2015. The project added setting tank and pumps to expand treatment capacity as well as incorporated other upgrades to improve resilience at the existing treatment plant.
  8. Low Level Road in Vancouver, Canada, earned an Envision Platinum award in September 2015. The project involved the realignment and elevation of approximately 2.6 kilometers of road providing space for two new rail tracks and eliminating three existing road and rail crossings to provide direct access to major port terminals.
  9. Tucannon River Wind Farm in Columbia County, Washington, earned an Envision Gold award in November 2015. The wind farm includes 116 turbines atop 80-meter tubular steel towers and produces an average of around 101 MW.