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Sustainable Development & Energy

  • Sustainability


    • ASCE defines sustainability as a set of economic, environmental and social conditions in which all of society has the capacity and opportunity to maintain and improve its quality of life indefinitely without degrading the quantity, quality or the availability of economic, environmental and social resources.
    • ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card graded the nation’s infrastructure as a D+, and as the nation works to raise the grades we must ensure that our infrastructure is rebuilt in a more sustainable fashion – improving the “triple bottom line” with clear economic, societal and environmental benefits.
    • Civil engineers work with city and regional planners to ensure the communities we live in are healthy, safe, and prosperous. Indicators can include access to public parks and recreation, quality of schools, and transportation options. 
    • As more people move back into urban areas, civil engineers and planners must build communities that minimize environmental impacts and provide high standards of living

    Activities in the 116th Congress

    • ASCE will attempt, where appropriate to incorporate the principles of sustainability into legislation.
    • ASCE efforts to advocate for the development of a national infrastructure plan as critical for addressing our nation’s aging infrastructure will include the development of sustainable, resilient infrastructure, to ensure that investments are directed towards projects and programs that are built for the future.
    • Support the House and Senate reintroduction of the Innovative Materials for America’s Growth and Infrastructure Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act to help develop cutting-edge materials that could vastly improve infrastructure nationwide.

    Recent Success

    • While sustainability is rarely considered in specific, standalone legislation, elements are often contained in numerous bills, and it is ASCE’s challenge to ensure it is incorporated where appropriate.
    • ASCE has endorsed the Innovative Materials for America’s Growth & Infrastructure Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act (S. 403/H.R. 1159), a bipartisan, bicameral bill that encourages the research and use of innovative construction materials and techniques in transportation and water infrastructure projects across the nation. ASCE believes that a critical component to raising our nation’s infrastructure grade is careful preparation for the needs of the future. As such, and as advocates of innovative and resilient infrastructure, ASCE supports the House and Senate’s goal of accelerating the development and deployment of innovative materials and technologies.

    ASCE Position

    • Sustainability should be incorporated as a basic tenant of infrastructure policy at all levels of government. Land use planning is best done at the state and local level, but Congress should continue to invest in federal programs that provide sustainable development incentives, tools, and assistance to communities. 
    • ASCE supports a national energy policy that anticipates future energy needs and promotes the development of clean and renewable energy supplies while increasing the efficiency of energy use.
    • ASCE encourages continued research to improve and enhance the nation’s transmission and generation infrastructure, including the deployment of technologies such as sustainable energy generation. 

    Further Information