As we continue to come to grips with the effects of our aging infrastructure, there are increasing calls to focus the investments we are making in replacement and repair on sustainable solutions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed a national Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy designed “to ensure that federal investments, policies and actions support water infrastructure in efficient and sustainable locations to aid existing communities, enhance economic competitiveness and promote affordable neighborhoods.” On top of that, the Brookings Institute issued a report last month calling for more than $6 trillion dollars of investment in sustainable infrastructure over the next 15 years.
Of course, getting to $6 trillion will not happen overnight, but we are continuing to see an increase in funding for sustainable infrastructure. Alongside that increase has come new tools and credentials to help guide professionals who are participating in sustainable projects and allow them to stand out. One such tool, advanced by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, is known as Envision. It is designed to help members of a project design team achieve increasing levels of sustainability at each stage of a project, and it contains elements of the Zofnass Rating System developed at Harvard University. Your company can become Envision-qualified by having an Envision sustainability professional on staff. Receiving that credential requires taking a brief course and passing a 75-question multiple-choice exam.
It is also getting easier to find test beds for sustainable technologies. Earth Centric Innovations is helping to turn a camp in Wemberly, Texas, into an ideal piloting location for technologies contributing to drought resilience. Netafim has a drip irrigation system in operation on a green roof at the camp, and a butterfly roof was recently added to a campus building to aid in rainwater collection and allow for further experimentation. With eager hosts like Earth Centric Innovations, getting proof of concept for your sustainable designs has never been easier.
Some companies have more mature techniques and are ahead of the game in terms of their ability to contribute sustainable solutions. Companies such as Source One Environmental, which has trenchless pipe repair capabilities, often help to grow a market by teaching consumers about sustainable options they may have overlooked. They not only have a sales staff trained to educate those making purchasing decisions, but also host a blog that educate readers in techniques they might have otherwise not considered. Evangelists such as Source One Environmental not only help themselves, but by educating those making purchasing decisions, they also help grow the market.
Whether you are ready to have a member of your staff credentialed, are looking for a test-bed for your new technology or are leading the way for the industry, your company’s ability to participate in sustainable projects could have a real impact on both the environment and your bottom line. There is something especially gratifying about saving the planet while growing your business, so as always, I wish you happy hunting.