Water Journal : Water Journal December 2012
regular features 22 DECEMBER 2012 water Lessons Learned from an Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) Rating Journey Earlier this year the Australian Green Infrastructure Council (AGIC) launched its Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating scheme to foster the development of sustainable infrastructure in Australia. The scheme evaluates the sustainability of infrastructure assets and/or projects across their design, construction and operational phases and assesses their sustainability performance across the six broad themes of management and governance, innovation, using resources, people and places, ecology and emissions, pollutions and waste. Tenix and Whitsunday Regional Council are seeking a rating under the IS scheme for the Proserpine and Cannonvale sewage treatment plants in Northern Queensland, which Tenix is designing, constructing and will operate and maintain on behalf of the Council. An important part of the IS rating scheme is to share the learning from infrastructure projects with the broader market to help accelerate the advancement of sustainability across the industry and avoid “reinventing the wheel”, says Tenix. A recurring major theme in project learning to date is that “earlier is better” when planning sustainable projects. The earlier that sustainability- related issues are identified in the project development, the greater the potential is to maximise sustainable outcomes. For example, early engagement with potential suppliers – to get them engaged on the sustainability agenda – encourages thinking about potential innovations and provides longer lead times that are often needed to realise innovation. Early identification of potential renewable energy options allows for the design to facilitate retrofitting in the future, even if the project budget does not allow for it in the initial build. Similarly, prior understanding of climate-change risks and adaption strategies makes it easier to address the more significant project- specific risks when they are identified. It is also good to get everyone involved ‘on board’ at the earliest opportunity. Including sustainability in the induction process ensures that all stakeholders, including subcontractors, are on the same page when it comes to delivery. Timing is also critical. For example, if the project team had better understood energy tariffs earlier in the design stage, they could have investigated the viability of using holding tanks to store effluent for treatment at the times of day when tariffs were lower. Involving the wider community in the early stages of the project around sustainability brings about a number of intangible benefits. Collaborating and engaging with representatives from the local community to identify sustainable opportunities not only increases community buy-in and goodwill, it also improves local engagement around the benefits of the project and increases general understanding of the project and its aims – such as sustainable wastewater treatment. The IS scheme has been a great mechanism to further focus the project team’s sustainability efforts, enforcing the need for the project team to consider the sustainability implications of everything it does. Many of the initiatives that have grown from the sustainability focus have been cost-neutral, or in some cases delivered improved value over the asset life cycle. An example is the use of ‘green concrete’. Apart from the more obvious environmental benefits, the concrete is stronger, more durable and more resistant to chemical attack than conventional concrete, and no more expensive. AGIC is a not-for-profit industry association formed with the express purpose to establish a rating scheme to enhance sustainability in Australian infrastructure. Tenix is an active member of AGIC and believes the IS scheme has the potential to create a step change in sustainability and the Infrastructure arena. New Appointments for Parsons Brinckerhoff In Perth, Parsons Brinckerhoff welcomes Barbara Pedersen as Principal Environmental Consultant. Parsons Brinckerhoff Environment, Planning and Stakeholder Engagement Section Executive Brian Ashcroft said Ms Pedersen’s diverse skills and experience added depth to the firm’s environmental capability. “Our environment team offers quality advice to clients across Australia, and industry news For more information visit www.plasson.com.au For sales call Australian distributor Vinidex 13 11 69 No-one in the water industry knows PE better than Plasson. Our pedigree in PE reaches back 40 years internationally and over 35 years locally. In fact, Plasson is the only company in Australia focused purely on PE connections, making us the unchallenged leader. We have the most comprehensive range of connections for water and wastewater systems certified to Australian Standards. And our specialist systems for hydrant and tapping connections have been WSAA appraised. With our knowledgeable specialists, local expertise and authoritative technical support, we can answer any questions you may have about PE. Call NSW (02) 9550 2291, VIC/SA/TAS (03) 9772 8799, QLD/NT (07) 5477 5088, WA 0414 274 047. PN0173 Any questions? Just Ask.
Water Journal February 2013
Water Journal November 2012-1