Principles of Infrastructure Sustainability
Understanding the principles of infrastructure sustainability is the foundational element for current and future industrial ecologists and engineers. Every year, a massive amount of materials and energy is being supplied for constructing and maintaining, and for operating the infrastructure systems, respectively. Also, the potential for infrastructure to attain societal goals and environmental pledges has been now recognized by governments. The $2 trillion investment of the federal government for reshaping and overhauling the nation’s infrastructure can be perceived as a foundational transformation towards sustainable infrastructure. However, to make a meaningful solution for investing in sustainable constructions, a deep understanding of the infrastructure components and their interactions with ecosystem services is required. In fact, most contemporary cities have yet to understand the criteria and the extent to which can be achieved by the increased investment in the infrastructure. The extensive potential of resources and alternatives as well as interconnections of infrastructure systems provide great opportunities for the authorities to superpose the sustainability benefits under a constraint budget as well as increased investment.
This course enlightens graduate students to the emerging field of infrastructure sustainability from multiple disciplinary perspectives, primarily sustainable systems, urban planning, policy analysis, civil engineering, and architecture. The course provides students with lectures around the concept and methodological tools in which to explore the life cycle impacts of infrastructure systems and buildings considering their context and interconnections. Different assessment tools and analytical approaches will be introduced, and examples will be provided to assess multiple aspects of infrastructure projects, such as buildings, roads, railways, and bridges. A separate module will consist of urban infrastructure sustainability. The importance of climate change on the life cycle performance of infrastructure and solutions to improve the sustainability impacts will be discussed.