Integrating Envision Principles in Installation Master Planning

As interest for integrating sustainable and resilient solutions on military installations grows, federal planners are challenged to meet this demand while reducing capital and long-term operating costs.

By Elizabeth Bradford, ENV SP, M.SAME, Frank Smith, AICP, LEED ND, M.SAME, and Lt. Cdr. Brianna Jackson, P.E., ENV SP, CEC, USN 


 

Priorities of federal infrastructure planning—including changes in energy usage, supply system stresses, water supply and water quality management, increased maintenance costs, transportation system disruptions and dependence on installation-community interactions—are driving demand for more resilient and sustainable infrastructure. But with limited resources, planners are challenged to meet this demand while reducing capital and long-term operating costs. 

In recent decades, the growing understanding and use of resilient and sustainable infrastructure to meet specific project drivers has illuminated opportunities to leverage resilient and sustainable design alternatives that will reduce capital and long-term operating costs while providing social and environmental benefits. For example, a Department of Defense (DOD) installation could use a constructed wetland to reduce operations and maintenance costs associated with stormwater management, while creating wildlife habitat and recreational park space.  

 

A PROGRAMMATIC FRAMEWORK

Many organizations are now seeking ways to integrate resilience and sustainable principles and the corresponding cost savings across all of their projects and programs. To address this growing demand, CH2M developed a 5-phase Programmatic Framework that conceptually elevates resilient and sustainable design principles from the project level to the program and organization level. Similar to an organization’s risk management or quality management processes, the Programmatic Framework is a proven method that standardizes an organization’s resiliency and sustainability priorities, helping leaders to assess current performance (Phases 1 and 2); identify stretch goals (Phase 3); establish and execute priorities (Phase 4); and evaluate individual projects for opportunities of increased resiliency and sustainability (Phase 5).

Additionally, the Programmatic Framework includes easily customizable tools and resources that provide for economic considerations such as bottom line cost reduction, capital, operations and maintenance, life-cycle costs and ecosystem cost/benefit (Phases 3 and 5). Integrating cost considerations ensures economic resiliency and sustainability are balanced with project drivers and other organizational priorities including social and environmental resiliency and sustainability.

 

ENVISION RATING SYSTEM

Envision is a sustainability rating system applicable to all types and sizes of infrastructure (energy, water, waste, transportation, landscape, and telecommunications). The system was developed by The Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. Envision is a framework of five categories (Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk), with themed subcategories, within which 60 credits are arranged. As with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Envision provides a project certification process that allows projects that have achieved high levels of sustainability to receive recognition awards.

By reviewing a project against the credit criteria, Envision helps project planning and design teams integrate environmentally and socially resilient and sustainable design alternatives into individual projects, whether or not an Envision award is the end goal.

As more organizations look to Envision for guidance on projects, there is a growing desire to standardize Envision principles. Therefore, the Programmatic Framework was extended to integrate Envision. The Programmatic Framework with Envision facilitates knowledge transfer, supports decision-making, and standardizes Envision principles across all of a program’s or organization’s infrastructure projects, creating a comprehensive program development, management, and decision support system. The Programmatic Framework with Envision was customized for selective application for various programs and organizations, including the San Mateo Clean Water Program and the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Engineering Division.

 

APPLICATIONS FOR MASTER PLANNING

Military installations function much like small cities (independent, but interconnected with communities outside their gates) and seek to integrate system-wide approaches that balance operational priorities with social and environmental co-benefits into their installation capital programs. An abbreviated Phase 1 through Phase 3 table top evaluation was executed to determine if the Programmatic Framework with Envision would be a valuable tool for DOD installation planning and alternatives analysis.

In Phase 1, UFC 2-100-01, Installation Master Planning, May 2012, was selected for review because it provides guidance for installation master plans and directs DOD to utilize sustainable planning principles very similar to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED + Neighborhood Development

In Phase 2, 10 overarching DOD strategies and the general requirements presented in UFC 2-100-01, Chapter 2, were compared to each of the Envision credits to identify Envision principles addressed by DOD planning strategies and requirements. Overall, UFC 2-100-01 and Envision are well aligned to the Quality of Life, Leadership, and Natural World categories. Each focuses on improving community, promoting stakeholder involvement, incorporating sustainable planning principles into installation and project planning, and preserving the natural environment. The Envision categories of Resource Allocation, and Climate and Risk were found to be most lacking in the DOD planning process as described in UFC 2-100-01. 

Based on the findings of Phase 2,  Phase 3 identified installation planning priorities not yet covered or not fully covered in UFC 2-100-01. A set of priority targets (stretch goals) that would be a valuable tool for DOD planners were identified. 

Improve Infrastructure Integration. Infrastructure projects should be evaluated for impacts to other types of infrastructure. Where impacts exist, then sustainability, linkages, and connectivity must be considered. As part of its Area Development Plan, DOD has begun preparing Sustainability Component Plans, which are a step in this direction because they evaluate energy use, water use, stormwater runoff, and waste generation in one planning workshop. These should be formalized in UFC 20100-01 requirements.

Commissioning and Monitoring Energy Systems. Energy-efficient systems often do not perform as designed due to user behavior, installation errors, and/or degradation over time. DOD often audits its systems, but if comprehensive commissioning, retro commissioning, and monitoring were required, opportunities to optimize performance and reduce usage and costs would be readily identified.  

Avoid Traps and Vulnerabilities. Projects should be evaluated for traps, including resources traps (dependence on a resource that could become scarce or expensive), configuration traps (highly vulnerable to extreme weather events and natural disasters) and standard traps designed for current conditions not accounting for changing environment or operating conditions.  

Prepare for Long-term Adaptability. DOD planners should consider climate change impacts (sea level rise, extreme weather events, droughts, heat waves, and increased ambient temperature). Specific measures to address threats such as desertification, water and energy shortages, and other critical materials shortages should also be identified along with siting and design features that increase supply alternatives including water, energy, other critical materials.

Prepare for Short-term Hazards. Similar to addressing long-term adaptability, planners should ensure their facility plans include the ability to withstand or adapt to hazards.

 

THE NEXT STEPS

This qualitative analysis was conducted to identify opportunities to improve resiliency and sustainability of DOD installations using the most current tools available. By expanding the review to include documents referenced in the UFC and agency and installation specific instructions used to develop master plans, a quantitative assessment (Phase 2) could be completed using the Envision point-scale. This would provide a standard metric that would assist in goal setting at the installation and project level.

Additionally, Phase 3, an economic assessment that integrates DOD priorities, would be a valuable next step to help planners select the highest impact with the lowest overall cost across all installations. Updated UFC 2-100-01 and installation master plans would then serve as the implementation tool for Phase 4. 

The economic evaluation tools integrated into Phase 5 would also prove valuable at the project level. The economic analysis would include all life-cycle project costs to include the cost of construction, modernization at the appropriate time, and maintenance and operations costs. In addition to this traditional economic analysis, sustainability and resiliency costs balanced against the ecosystem and societal benefits should be included.  


Elizabeth Bradford, ENV SP, M.SAME, is the Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure Planning Community of Practice Lead, and Frank Smith, AICP, LEED ND, is the Director of Military Installation Planning and a Site Development and Planning Practice Lead, CH2M. They can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Lt. Cdr. Brianna Jackson, P.E., ENV SP, CEC, USN, is assigned to CH2M as part of the Secretary of the Navy Tours with Industry Program; 214-766-5168, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..