Infrastructure includes constructed facilities and natural features that shelter and support most human activities: buildings of all types, communications, energy generation and distribution, green spaces, transportation of all modes, water resources, and waste treatment and management. Infrastructure is vital socially and economically; in the U.S. new construction and renovation of infrastructure amounts to about 1/8 of the Gross Domestic Product. To achieve sustainable infrastructure we need appropriate practices, education, and research of infrastructure planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance and renewal or removal.
Practice, Education and Research for Sustainable Infrastructure (PERSI) is an initiative of the U.S. infrastructure community. Participation is open to all organizations that produce, use, research or educate for practices for infrastructure, and are interested in the work of PERSI.
PERSI’s vision is that sustainable infrastructure supports a high and sustainable quality of life for all people in a changing world. PERSI’s mission is to advance and incorporate concepts and knowledge of sustainability into the standards and practices used throughout the life cycle of infrastructure systems. PERSI will not itself produce standards and practices, but will help its member organizations address sustainability consistently in their practices and standards.
PERSI will complement, and build upon, important ongoing activities related to sustainable infrastructure such as green and sustainable building guidelines and practices for protection from natural, willful and accidental hazards. PERSI’s scope is novel in four respects:
(1) includes all standards and practices used in the life cycle of all infrastructure systems from urban and regional planning, which integrates infrastructure systems, to those for constituent materials and components and for operation and maintenance;
(2) involves the private sector organizations that produce and maintain the practices used for infrastructure systems and whose members implement these practices;
(3) will use rigorous life cycle assessment procedures to provide consistent indicators of environmental, economic and social effects; and
(4) will produce agendas for implementation of best practices, improvement of practices to exploit available knowledge, research needed to fill critical gaps in knowledge, and education for infrastructure professionals and technicians.
Ultimate objectives are to:
Provide the practices needed for sustainable renewal of America’s infrastructure to respond to marketplace values and meet society’s needs.
Embed sustainability provisions in the practices regularly used for planning, design, construction, commissioning, operation, maintenance, renovation and removal of infrastructure.
Assist educational programs in architecture, construction, engineering, planning, and related technologies, in incorporating principles for sustainable infrastructure in their curricula, and strengthen K-12 education to improve public understanding of sustainability and infrastructure and to attract qualified youth to infrastructure careers.
Establish an enduring program of research to provide critically needed knowledge for improvement of practices for sustainable infrastructure.
Engage the U.S. infrastructure community in international efforts for sustainability.
Immediate objectives are to assess current practices and knowledge and develop agendas for:
Implementation of best available practices,
Development of improved practices to exploit available knowledge,
Research to fill important gaps in knowledge, and
Education of current and future infrastructure professionals and technicians.