Envision Webinar delivered to Niagara Region

On May 8th, 2023, Gustavo Arvizu delivered an Envision 101 presentation to the Niagara Region. Gustavo is a Senior Project Manager at CIMA+ with experience in the management, planning, design and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure projects in Canada and abroad. Gustavo’s experience spans the whole project life cycle: from the completion of Environmental Assessments and Master Plans, risk and reliability assessments, servicing studies, infrastructure condition assessments and asset management strategies, to the design, tender and contract administration of water and wastewater infrastructure.

New Envision Canada Program Manager Role Will Help Drive Use of the Rating System in Canada

ISI’s Canadian partner organization, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE), has appointed Lourette Swanepoel as the Envision Canada Program Manager.

Creation of this new part-time position marks a key stage in the collaboration between ISI and CSCE to advance sustainable infrastructure practices in Canada. In December 2021, ISI and CSCE announced their intention to work together through a formal partnership agreement, paving the way for ISI to work directly with the largest civil engineering professional association in Canada. The fruits of that agreement led directly to the launch of Envision Canada in March 2022. Today, the Envision Canada Program Manager role is a new opportunity to further steer adoption of the Envision Sustainability Framework and Rating System for infrastructure in the country.

“ISI is thrilled with Lourette’s appointment to this role. She is eminently qualified and highly respected in the field of sustainability and the application of Envision, says Melissa Peneycad, ISI’s Managing Director. “I look forward to working with her and leveraging her skills and background to advance joint CSCE-ISI goals around Envision awareness, capacity building, and innovation.”

As Envision Canada Program Manager, Lourette will work with the CSCE-ISI Joint Task Force to achieve three main goals:

  • Improving awareness and uptake: Promoting the benefits of Envision and advocating for its application to Canadian infrastructure.
  • Building capacity: Ensuring there are sufficient resources to successfully apply the Envision framework in Canada.
  • Fostering innovation: Demonstrating how Envision fits in the Canadian context and represents Canadian needs and values.

Lourette Swanepoel has more than 20 years of experience in the sustainability field, including working with Envision for 10 of those years. She has played a pivotal role in the early adoption of Envision across North America, led the Envision verification processes for several Canadian projects, and acted as senior Envision advisor to public agencies and private companies. She has been an accredited Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) since 2013, an approved Envision Trainer since 2015, and an Envision Verifier since 2018. She currently serves on the Envision Review Board, a technical committee that ensures the ongoing refinement and continued relevance of Envision.

Lourette will invite Canadian ENV SP credential holders to a meeting in January.


Envision Canada by the numbers:

Did you know? Canada is the country with the highest number of Envision-verified projects (14) outside the United States. With the exception of the Northern Territories, there are projects seeking Envision verification in in every region in the country, with some of the most complex projects in the country earning an Envision award for sustainability, including the Port of Vancouver’s Centerm Expansion Project, and the Gordie Howe International Bridge Project. Canada has a thriving and engaged ENV SP community numbering more than 550.

York Region’s 2nd Concession Project Receives Envision Bronze Award

ISI has awarded an Envision Bronze Award for sustainable infrastructure to the 2nd Concession Project, a major north-south arterial corridor under the jurisdiction of the Regional Municipality of York (York Region). Located in the Town of East Gwillimbury, this is the second project in Ontario to earn an Envision award for sustainability and the first project in the transportation sector in the province to do so.

The project in brief

The 2nd Concession project—the largest project ever undertaken by York Region’s Transportation Services Department—was a necessary investment in infrastructure to accommodate the tremendous growth in York Region and the Town of East Gwillimbury in particular. The six-kilometer corridor, extending from Bristol Road to Queensville Sideroad, crosses the Rogers Reservoir, a popular conservation area and recreational trail in the East Holland River watershed, which the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority manages.

This project widened the 2nd Concession from two lanes to four and included trails, three bridges, retaining walls, active transportation facilities, and stormwater management.

Some of the unique elements of this project included:

—An elevated wooden boardwalk through wetlands and marshes connecting forests with growing residential communities.
—Benches, bike racks, and a flagstone meeting area.
—A wooden-clad pedestrian bridge in the Rogers Reservoir overlooks the historic canal and lock system, which the project protected and preserved.
—Bridges spanning an active rail corridor and the Holland River.
—Curvilinear and terraced tree-patterned retaining walls.
—Dedicated cycle tracks (the first in the Region).


“Congratulations to York Region and its project partners on earning an Envision Bronze award for sustainable infrastructure for the 2nd Concession project. This award results from tremendous teamwork, leadership, and community collaboration. Everyone in the area should be proud of this achievement. Protecting and enhancing the corridor area as an important resource for residents was given high priority in the planning and construction of the project, with a context-sensitive design maintaining or improving the natural systems and community quality of life aspects receiving careful attention.”
—  Melissa Peneycad, ISI’s managing director.

“Yesterday was the first time we took our dogs for a walk along 2nd Concession. The view from the bridge is amazing. The viewing platforms on the bridge are a nice touch. The boardwalk for the trail blends in well with the environment. You and your staff have done a wonderful job on this project.”

— R.W. a long-time resident living in the project corridor

This project had verified sustainability achievements in the following areas, among others: meaningful stakeholder engagement; improved infrastructure integration; improved mobility, safety and access; and wetland restoration.

View the full announcement in our Project Directory.

Ontario Municipal Engineers Association Webinar Dec. 6

On Dec 6th from 1 pm – 2:30 pm, Eric Dunford will be presenting on the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure framework as part of the Ontario Municipal Engineers Association webinar series. This webinar is organized by the MEA’s Climate Change Committee. Eric is the ESG Sector Lead and an Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) with Pratus Group in Toronto. He is also an Envision accreditation trainer and third-party verifier. Eric facilitated the design of the first Envision-verified project in Ontario.

For webinar registration visit https://municipalengineers.on.ca/events/webinars.html



Envision at CWWA National Water and Wastewater Conference

Rina Kurian and Alex Mason presented ‘Envisioning a Sustainable Future for Water / Wastewater Infrastructure’ on Nov 8th at the National Water and Wastewater Conference hosted in Halifax. They argued the need for a common sustainable approach to all aspects of infrastructure development and delivery has never been more important. Rina and Alex described how the Envision framework provides guidance on sustainable practices in the planning, design and delivery of infrastructure. The framework initiates wholistic change from inception to end-of-life for infrastructure by means of decision-making guides rather than prescriptive measures. They outlined how the Envision framework, by encompassing Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural Worlds, and Climate and Resilience, provides a comprehensive, common rating system for assessing sustainability of infrastructure which has been welcomed by the water industry. In 2016, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) developed the Applying Envision 1.0 to Water Projects to provide further guidance in the applicability of Envision credits across Collection Systems, Stormwater, Biosolids and Municipal Resource Recovery Facility.

The presentation focused on the Climate and Resilience aspect, and presented examples where various tools were used to determine the risks and mitigate them. It was argued that a sustainable approach and climate resilience are absolutely critical when implementing water and wastewater infrastructure project to deal with the ever-worsening climate events.

About the presenters:

Rina is an Environmental Engineer and Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) specializing in municipal wastewater treatment with over 17 years’ experience in the industry. Her interest to leverage existing resources to optimize infrastructure led her to the Envision Sustainability framework. Alex Mason is an Intermediate Engineer and ENV SP with extensive experience in Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments. Rina and Alex work with R.V. Anderson Associates, an Envision Qualified Company with more than 20 ENV SPs.

New resource! Release of an Envision-verified Project Submission

The most comprehensive project example provided by ISI to date comes from this intermodal transit center project located in the Berryessa district of San Jose, California

For the first time, specific details and Envision documentation from a verified project have been made available as a resource to help other Envision users. This resource includes the Envision scorecard and several Envision credit submittals—including coversheets and supporting documentation—for the Berryessa Transit Center Project, which was awarded Envision Platinum in March 2021.

The project’s owner, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and the lead Envision firm for the project, Keish Environmental, have graciously granted permission to ISI to release their Envision project submission, and it’s now available as a resource to anyone with an ISI account. A link to the materials can be found on users’ dashboards under “Verification Resources” after logging into the ISI site: https://v4.sustainableinfrastructure.org/login.

Every Envision-verified project is different, with a specific context, requirements, and aspirations that cannot be easily extrapolated to another project. Still, the specificity of an actual project example can be tremendously valuable in adding a further layer of insight and visibility into the verification process.

Applicants are expected to find this resource very instructive, as it makes available the written responses and supporting documentation used to meet Envision requirements during project verification.

“The example provides all the materials submitted by the Berryessa project for seven Envision v3 credits,” notes Kristi Wamstad, ISI’s verification director. “It also includes verifier comments and additional documentation from the project team’s resubmission for the second review. This resource really offers Envision users an authentic insight into the verification process.”

“We are indebted to Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and Keish Environmental for granting permission to make available their project submission, as this is easily the most comprehensive project example provided by ISI to date,” said Melissa Peneycad, ISI’s managing director.

Berryessa Transit Center: A stand-out example Envision project

There’s also excitement across the Envision community about the high caliber of the first project to be made public. The Platinum-Awarded Berryessa Transit Center delivered diverse, interrelated benefits for environmental justice, restoration of the natural world, adding public space and amenities, improving local character, improving the community’s long-term sustainability, and more.

As ISI’s award announcement highlighted last year, this intermodal transit center located in the Berryessa district of San Jose, California, is a shining example of integrating sustainability in as much of the project footprint as possible, from EV chargers – to a new, multi-modal trail – to habitat restoration in an urban environment – to a contemplative garden honoring the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area.

“We’re thrilled to have the first Envision-verified project to be shared as a unique resource that can accelerate the use of Envision to evaluate and deliver on sustainability,” said Ann Calnan, Manager of Environmental Programs at Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

“It is an honor to be able to ‘go public’ with a project that I am so proud to have worked on, complete with the supporting documentation, knowing how this may assist other Envision users in preparing their projects for verification,” said Rachael Keish, CEO of Keish Environmental.

ISI hopes the release of materials from the Berryessa Transit Center project will inspire other project teams to make their project documentation public, as sharing actual project examples can accelerate sustainability practices and the use of Envision as a vital tool for accomplishing that.

While the information provided in this resource does not supersede the guidance and requirements established in the Envision Guidance Manual (v3), the Guide to Envision Verification for Applicants, Credit Amendments (v3), and ISI Policies, ISI believes this example project submission offers valuable support to applicants and opens a new window into the verification process.

Questions about this resource, or other resources available to applicants, can be directed to info@sustainableinfrastructure.org.

About the partner organizations

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is an independent special district that provides sustainable, accessible, community-focused transportation options that are innovative, environmentally responsible, and promote the vitality of the region. VTA is responsible for bus, light rail, and paratransit operations and serves as the county’s congestion management agency implementing specific highway improvement projects and performing countywide transportation planning including bikeways and pedestrian facilities. Visit www.vta.org.

Keish Environmental

Keish Environmental provides sustainability, program/construction management, and environmental compliance services. Founded in 2014, the firm specializes in ensuring regulatory permit conditions, stormwater quality requirements, and environmental document mitigations are implemented in the field to allow smooth project delivery. Sustainability is a core value at the firm and our staff are certified as both LEED and Envision Sustainability Professionals (ENV SPs). The firm’s practical approach to implementation helps projects achieve the highest levels of sustainability, while completing work on budget and on schedule. Keish Environmental is a certified small business. Visit https://keishenv.com.

ISI Releases New Envision Credit Amendments

Developed in collaboration with ISI’s Envision Review Board, two new credit amendments have been approved and are now on ISI users’ dashboards — amendments #008 and #009 (part of the Credit Amendments (v3) consolidated package under “Verification Resources” at https://v4.sustainableinfrastructure.org/login). Users can refer to the resource shown with a red box in the screenshot below:

The Envision guidance manual is the official reference for project assessments. Credit Amendments from ISI modify the manual to clarify how Envision credits are assessed and verified in certain situations encountered by real projects.

As a reminder, ENV SPs and other Envision users should periodically check your dashboard every few months to be sure they have the most up-to-date resources as ISI may add or amend resources at any time.

ISI Delivers Opening Keynote at Canadian Society for Civil Engineering Conference

The return of the CSCE conference included a plenary from ISI and a workshop that equipped participants on use of the Envision Framework.

Whistler, B.C. — CSCE 2022 was a huge success, bringing 550 practitioners and academics here from 14 countries — one of the best opportunities to date to communicate the value of the Envision Sustainability Framework in Canada. ISI’s Managing Director Melissa Peneycad gave the opening plenary on May 25, describing how the framework can be used to plan, design and deliver sustainable infrastructure projects and provided illustrative examples from across the country. There are already 12 projects that have earned Envision awards for sustainability, including Infrastructure Canada’s Samuel de Champlain Bridge Project in Montréal, the Northeast False Creek Renewal and Development Project in Vancouver, British Columbia, STM’s Underground Garage near the Côte-Vertu Metro Station in Montréal, and most recently, the Centerm Expansion Project in the Port of Vancouver.

In addition to there being an Envision Canada booth, a full-day Envision workshop was held on May 24, where attendees had an opportunity to discover in depth how to use the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Framework to advance sustainability on projects. The workshop was led by ISI-approved Envision-accredited trainers Quin MacKenzie, Bronwyn Worrick and Jill Roth from luuceo consulting (more info).

Conference attendees also heard keynotes from, among others, Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, the Federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, and his provincial counterpart, Hon. Bowinn Ma, who is B.C.’s Minister of State for Infrastructure and is herself a civil engineer with a background in transportation engineering.

CSCE and ISI look forward to continuing to work together to advance sustainable infrastructure practices from coast to coast to coast.


Terminal Expansion Project at Port of Vancouver Receives Envision Platinum Award

The Centerm Expansion Project and the South Shore Access Project at the Port of Vancouver have obtained an Envision Platinum Award for Sustainability.

This design-build project centers on terminal expansion and improvements which will increase container and vessel handling capacity, but includes off-terminal improvements to the adjacent road and rail network. The combined project will help meet the increasing export and import demand for containers shipped through the Port of Vancouver.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is concurrently delivering these improvements with project partner WSP Canada, Inc. (the lead Envision Firm); AECOM; Centennial Expansion Partners (CXP), a joint venture between Dragados Canada, Jacob Brothers Construction, and Fraser River Pile & Dredge Inc.

This award recognizes the success of the project team in achieving sustainability goals in these areas:

— Prioritizing the needs and goals of the local communities through meaningful investments.
— Meaningful and credible stakeholder engagement.
— Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) and air pollutant emissions
— Sustainable siting and innovative marine restoration.

View the full announcement in our Project Directory.

Announcing the Launch of Envision Canada to Accelerate Sustainable Infrastructure Practices from Coast to Coast to Coast

The Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) are pleased to announce the launch of Envision® Canada.

Envision Canada is a partnership between CSCE and ISI to advance sustainable infrastructure practices in Canada by accelerating the use of the Envision sustainable infrastructure framework.

Envision is a holistic sustainability framework and rating system that enables a thorough examination of the sustainability and resiliency of all types of infrastructure. It is the only comprehensive tool in North America that can assist government agencies and their consultants and contractors in delivering infrastructure that tackles communities’ most pressing challenges, including improving the quality of life for everyone, creating good jobs, increasing economic growth, supporting climate resilience, reducing emissions, and cultivating social equity and cohesiveness.

“Envision Canada comes at a time when communities across the country are looking for ways to build a cleaner and greener future,” says Melissa Peneycad, ISI’s Managing Director. “Envision is a  practical tool to support the long-term planning toward a climate-resilient future. I’ve seen firsthand how well it works in the Canadian context and its alignment with Canadian needs and values. I’m excited to work with CSCE and our members across the country to take Envision use to the next level.”

Envision sets the standard for what constitutes sustainable infrastructure and incentivizes higher performance goals beyond minimum requirements.

In Canada, there are over 400 credentialed Envision Sustainability Professionals (ENV SPs)—people trained in the use of Envision. Twelve Canadian infrastructure projects have earned Envision awards for sustainability, including Infrastructure Canada’s Samuel de Champlain Bridge Corridor in Montréal, Quebec; the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority’s Gordie Howe International Bridge in Windsor, Ontario; the Surrey Biofuel Facility in Surrey, British Columbia; and the Northeast False Creek Renewal and Development project in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“We’re thrilled to be working with ISI to lead sustainable infrastructure development in Canada,” says David Innes, CSCE’s Executive Director.

“We’ll be focused on improving awareness of Envision, building capacity, and fostering innovation,” explains Michael Benson, CSCE Vice President. “Envision Canada is the result of a fantastic partnership between CSCE and ISI and we look forward to working together to accelerate the use of Envision across the country.”

Download the announcement in English

Télécharger l’annonce en français

Access the Envision Canada brochure to learn more.