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Towards the Development of a Rating System for Sustainable Infrastructure: A Checklist or a Decision-Making Tool?

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Sustainability rating systems such as LEED, BREEAM, and others, had a significant impact in the design and delivery of buildings and in the increased adoption and understanding of sustainability metrics, solutions and value proposition within governments, developers, and end-users. Sustainability rating systems facilitated the broad adoption of the term by providing point-based certification that is easy to understand, communicate, market, and include in project scope. Notwithstanding the criticism on the scientific base and comprehensiveness of some of the systems available, the adoption, use, and benefits of rating systems for building sustainability is clear and undisputable. However, missing from much of this discussion and action has been infrastructure, the base network for cities and buildings. Although there are examples of infrastructure projects that adopted sustainable solutions throughout the country, there is no system available to compare and assess the differential in sustainability results and performance within the infrastructure project domain. In this paper we will present our efforts to develop a rating system for sustainability assessment in infrastructure projects. Our research led us to develop a framework or system that can act as a decision-making tool for the major agents involved in infrastructure provisions. Our goal is to provide the infrastructure industry with a sustainability rating system that will be widely adopted and that would improve the adoption of sustainable solutions and make the cities of the future a better place to live and thrive.

Keywords: Sustainability; decision-making tool; environmental assessment; infrastructure; rating system

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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