Sustainability practices and infrastructure asset management are two critical components that should go hand in hand.
To achieve consistent environmental and socio-economic benefits, every life cycle phase of infrastructure must be leveraged. I delivered this key message alongside our partners Dewberry and Lane Construction Corporation at the 2023 National Association of Environmental Professionals Conference in Phoenix, Arizona last week.
The transportation industry still represents one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and when combined with industrial and energy related emissions, it accounts for more than 75% of US total annual emissions (according to US EPA’s 2021 GHG emissions inventory).
As a transportation infrastructure operator, there is an opportunity to shape the industry by making sustainable decisions during the design, construction, and operation lifecycle phases. This can be achieved by implementing industrial innovations such as low-carbon pavement, concrete, and construction techniques, which contribute to reduce industrial emissions (23% of US total annual emissions).
We can also progress with energy efficiency upgrades on our assets, and by contracting jurisdiction-specific physical and virtual renewable power purchasing agreements and the purchase of renewable energy certificates to keep us at the forefront of climate-related innovations (electricity production accounts for 25% of US total annual emissions).
In partnership with federal and state governments in three countries, we also offer road users sustainable and reliable mobility options incentivized through our carpooling, bus, active mobility, or electric vehicles programs.
To address the complex socio-economic and environmental challenges facing infrastructure assets, sustainability frameworks are used across all our major projects in North America and Australia. The Envision and Infrastructure Sustainability rating tools we follow from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure and the Infrastructure Sustainability Council, provide decision-making support across all lifecycle phases of infrastructure asset management. They bring clarity, rigor, and transparency to decisions related to community interaction, natural resource and ecosystem treatment, and operations resilience to future climate events.
As the 11th annual Infrastructure Week concludes, we look forward to continued engagement with our government partners and communities to make sustainable decisions that will strengthen communities for years to come. We believe that by working together, we can create a more sustainable future for all.