Each year, sustainability takes on greater urgency with every new flood, wildfire, or extreme weather event.

And with the greater urgency comes greater calls for action.

ASCE has been at the forefront of the sustainability movement for many years and continues stepping up its efforts to aid civil engineering’s embrace of sustainable practices.

ASCE will soon roll out an updated “roadmap” to sustainable development with five priorities to steer civil engineering practices in more sustainable directions. The five goals include: re-invent the built environment project development process; standards and protocols; transform how the civil engineering workforce is prepared; communicate and advocate; and demonstrate global sustainability leadership.

“Over three decades of sustainable development efforts [at ASCE] have created a very deep set of resources where engineers can draw technical and policy information along with social inspiration for use in their practice,” said Cris Liban, Ph.D., P.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE, LA Metro chief sustainability officer and chair of ASCE’s Committee on Sustainability.

Here are some of the other major initiatives on sustainability ASCE is involved in:

  • Needing to repave the headquarters parking lot, the ASCE Foundation made it an example of sustainability, featuring permeable pavement, stormwater filtration systems, and other technologies to help keep more than half the site’s potentially contaminated stormwater runoff out of the local watershed. The asphalt included shredded recycled tires. Learn more about this achievement.
  • In 2019 ASCE and the ASCE Foundation were among the founders of the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure, which is dedicated to identifying and addressing the biggest barriers to action that have prevented the industry from working together for a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive future. ASCE 2021 Past President Kancheepuram Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, Pres.20.ASCE, is vice chair. Other groups involved in ICSI include The Resilience Shift, WSP, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, and the UK’s Institution of Civil Engineers.
  • ASCE has issued four policy statements related to sustainability.
  • The 2021 International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure will showcase the latest thinking in sustainable civil engineering. Held every two years, the next ICSI will take place virtually Dec. 6-10. Leaders will hold discussions around the convention theme “leveraging sustainable infrastructure for resilient communities” and the latest developments and advancements in design, construction, technology, policy, and education related to sustainable and resilient infrastructure. 
  • ASCE has honored a deserving project with the Innovation in Sustainable Engineering Award annually since 2010. Nominations for the 2021 award are being sought through Nov. 1.

The ASCE Foundation’s Sustainable Development Initiatives Fund helps underwrite ASCE’s sustainability initiatives. These include ASCE’s 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, ASCE’s report on sustainable procurement, selected International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure activities, the work of ASCE’s Committee on Sustainability, and more.

“ASCE sustainability programs provide critical guidance and resources for engineers to develop and refine the knowledge and skills needed to build the sustainable and resilient infrastructure of the future,” said former Society president Robert D. Stevens, Ph.D., P.E., Pres.15.ASCE. “Charitable contributions to the ASCE Foundation’s Sustainable Development Initiative Fund help make these programs possible. I believe so strongly in the value of the SDIF that I’ve made a personal contribution to support it.”