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Sustainable Buildings in San Francisco

Sustainable Buildings in San Francisco

Sustainable
We usually only hear about sustainable buildings, otherwise known as “green” buildings at times, because we see them on the news, or we see a plaque from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), or someone informs us to make a living or working there more attractive. Recently, for example, I ran across the following website that the City of San Francisco created to log their LEED Buildings. As you will note, a considerable amount of these buildings are “Gold” and “Platinum” rated, which means they far excel the basics of “green” buildings per the USGBC: https://data.sfgov.org/Housing-and-Buildings/Map-of-SF-LEED-certified-municipal-buildings-and-i/7utx-cs9k. Sustainable Buildings in San Francisco “Green” buildings, on an environmental basis, can help reduce carbon emissions, reduce potable water and electricity use, and enhance the working environment, among other benefits. Therefore, it is…
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Sustainable San Francisco

Sustainable San Francisco

Sustainable
Even with all its big-city ills, San Francisco is considered one of the most sustainable cities worldwide. This is due, in part, to the City legislation mandating sustainable development and setting goals, and drafting legislation for utilizing renewable energy, achieving zero waste, and reducing single-occupancy driving trips, among others. Another factor contributing to San Francisco’s sustainable vision is its population. San Franciscans (either born here or transplants) tend to be progressive and well-educated. Therefore, they are supportive of accomplishing sustainable goals, but they also participate extensively in these programs. If you are a resident of San Francisco, and or work here, and are interested in sustainability, either professionally or personally, you will find a wide range of opportunities and resources, such as: Transportation The City has created numerous initiatives that…
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What is Sustainable Civil Engineering?

What is Sustainable Civil Engineering?

Civil Engineering, Sustainable
For the longest time, civil engineers seemed like the antithesis of sustainability. We were seen as “land reapers,’ or wanting to “pave” the world, and so on. And, for the most part, it was partly true in earlier decades. We, as civil engineers, were expected to design safe roads, effective infrastructure, and even contour the land to provide space for new houses. Very little attention was placed on sustainability. In fact, the civil engineering curriculum worldwide lacked any courses or even references to sustainability. Fortunately, this has all changed, and we civil engineers now have a golden opportunity to engage the environment in a more eco-friendly manner and reverse some of the negative impacts of previous construction projects. For example, as a fan and proponent of open spaces and slow…
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Balancing Growth and Sustainability – a Project Case Study

Balancing Growth and Sustainability – a Project Case Study

Sustainable
I recently joined a committee that reviews new building projects based on their impact, both negative and positive, on the community. When I joined, I thought and was told that my background as a civil engineer would be instrumental. And even though I knew that there would be controversial projects to review, I still thought that the work would be straightforward, logical, and rather predictable, which is correct to a certain point. Construction projects typically have “predictable” lifecycles, but the feelings, politics, and social concerns related to the projects are anything but predictable. Also, the stakeholders bring a very personal viewpoint to the project work. In the past, I had mostly worked on larger projects, which entailed dealing with community stakeholders but at a distance. However, in a review committee,…
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Civil Engineering and Sustainability

Civil Engineering and Sustainability

Civil Engineering, Sustainable
All too often, it is assumed that as civil engineers, we just want to pave the world. And although our work does involve roadway design, streetscape, and other public works projects, civil engineers have the ability and responsibility to include sustainability in their work. For example, even a street improvement project can include recycled materials for the pavement section, permeable materials to reduce runoff, green areas of all sizes, reclaimed water for irrigation, and rainwater harvesting, among other possibilities. Civil Engineering and Sustainability LEED certification requires, for example, the inclusion of site civil elements, such as locating an appropriate site, maximizing energy savings, efficient use of water, minimizing the heat island effect, and the increased use of recycled materials, among many other possibilities. Therefore, it is helpful if civil engineers…
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