A Week to Celebrate Green

This week, Skanska is helping to sponsor Greenbuild in Los Angeles, the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building.

For the 2016 event, Greenbuild will – for the first time – feature a transit project as part of the program: the Skanska-built Expo Line Phase 2, the country’s first-ever Envision-certified light rail project and our first to achieve this celebrated designation.

The 6.6-mile extension of the Expo Line light rail was certified at Envision’s highest level, Platinum, and lays claim to another first: connecting downtown L.A. and the Santa Monica beach by train for the first time in more than six decades.

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Los Angeles’ Expo Line light-rail extension – which a Skanska-led joint venture designed and built – is the first light rail project to be certified under Envision, a sustainable infrastructure rating system gaining in popularity in the U.S. The 10.6-km (6.6-mile) extension was certified at Envision’s highest level, Platinum. Credit: Skanska USA.

Enabling the Platinum certification included specific project aspects such as the significant hiring of local craft labor, sourcing regional materials to the highest standards of the Envision program and integrating the new rail line with other means of transit, from bus systems to bike paths.

“This is a significant milestone for every stakeholder involved in this project,” says Skanska USA Chief Sustainability Officer Beth Heider. “Envision certification shows that no matter what you’re building, it can be built green.”

Helping Shape Envision

Administered by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), Envision consists of a broad range of criteria that address a project’s impact on the surrounding community and environment, technical considerations regarding materials and processes, and other critical choices spanning the project’s lifecycle. In key ways, Envision aligns with how Skanska defines sustainability.

As beneficial as Envision is, the current version is focused on the planning and design phases of a project, with little focus on construction. For the next version of Envision due out in 2018, Skanska has a key role in incorporating construction aspects throughout the system, and in leading the development of four credits focused on construction activities.

Ryan Prime, Skanska USA Civil’s sustainability director, chairs the ISI group overseeing the extension of Envision into construction. He finds his involvement “hugely motivating.”

“Week by week, it is becoming clear that Envision is gaining more and more traction in the industry,” Ryan says. “It makes me very proud to work for Skanska, which affords me the opportunity to be part of a major industry shift like this.”

Ryan adds: “I am also proud of how Skanska does business, particularly with our focus on values. It truly positions us to be a leader in sustainability.”

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The I-4 Ultimate public-private partnership (PPP) project in Orlando, Florida, is targeting Envision Platinum. Skanska’s consortium is responsible for financing, design, construction, operations and maintenance on this 34 km (21 mile) highway widening and reconstruction project. Credit: Skanska USA.

Everything Goes Back to the Environment

Major pieces of transportation infrastructure – such as bridges, roads and rail lines – might not call to mind environmentally beneficial projects.  U.S. civil infrastructure projects in many ways have been green, but have lacked a way to measure and guide their green activities. Envision provides a holistic framework to do that, enabling projects to aim for higher levels of green performance while also helping achieve broader sustainability goals over the long term.

“We believe that eco-certification helps drive innovation and efficiency, which is positive for everyone involved: our customers, the local communities and the environment, as well as our business,” says Greg Chant-Hall, head of sustainability for Skanska Infrastructure Development.

Deep commitment

As we chart our company’s Journey to Deep Green™, Skanska has made a strong commitment to integrate Envision into our U.S. civil infrastructure projects, similar to how we were among the first to embrace LEED when it was launched in 1998. We are a charter member of ISI, we are part of the ISI review board that oversees Envision, and we have supported more than 60 employees in achieving the Envision Sustainability Professional designation.

Moving forward, all of our public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the U.S. must be either Envision or LEED certified, and by 2020 all of our U.S. civil infrastructure projects will seek Envision certification.

“Skanska applauds USGBC’s announcement at the Greenbuild International Summit of a new relationship with ISI,” says Heider. “We look forward to what these two great organizations will achieve together transforming every corner of the built environment.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Building the Future at LaGuardia Airport

This is a bright moment in the history of Skanska.

Today we take pride in announcing that we — as member of LaGuardia Gateway Partners — have become the official redeveloper for LaGuardia Airport’s Central Terminal Building in New York City. It is our largest global project ever, at approximately $4 billion, and the largest public-private partnership in the United States.

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The importance of this project cannot be overstated, and will have a positive impact on air travel in the United States, with a ripple effect that will be felt around the world. It’s also terrific news for the local New York City community, which will benefit from the jobs created building and operating the new terminal.

The vision for the new LaGuardia is exciting, with the world’s first dual pedestrian bridges spanning above active aircraft taxi lanes and connecting the terminal to concourses A and B. The plan also includes a new 35-gate Terminal B, Central Hall, West Garage and related roadways and supporting infrastructure.

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We’re excited to start work on the new LaGuardia Airport right away, with most of the new terminal opening in 2020 and substantial completion during 2022.

You can read more about the project here and at the LaGuardia Gateway Partners website here.

Renderings credit LaGuardia Gateway Partners

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Year in review: Our 10 most popular blog posts of 2015

As 2015 comes to an end, we’ve compiled the most popular blog posts of the year according to you – our readers. Whether we’re explaining important issues or offering an inside look at some of our most complicated projects, you have followed along – and helped us celebrate some major milestones too. From our Florida Polytechnic University project being named Engineering News-Record’s Global Project of the Year to  testing exciting new technology that will advance project safety, 2015 has been a year of  Building What Matters.

We’re proving that even heavy civil construction can be sustainable at our Elizabeth River Tunnels project, a public-private partnership project in Virginia.

Below are our 10 most popular blog posts of 2015, ranked in order:

1. What will it take to rebuild and upgrade our country’s crumbling infrastructure? Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are an innovative solution to help governments deliver much-needed U.S. infrastructure projects, from bridges and roads to hospitals and airports. We break down how design-build-finance-operate-maintain PPPs work in our infographic: Rebuilding (and financing) America’s infrastructure through public private partnerships.

2.  We’re exploring how virtual reality, real-time location systems, drones and other technologies can be used to improve project safety and provide higher levels of customer service. Tony Colonna, senior vice president of our Innovative Construction Solutions group, examines how these three emerging technologies may help improve jobsite safety.

3.  On September 11, General Superintendent Mark Irvin wrote a heartfelt tribute to the victims of 9/11, and shared the immense pride, passion and commitment that he and many others have from helping reconstruct the World Trade Center. Read his inspiring essay: From atop the Empire State Building on 9/11, pride in our work rebuilding the World Trade Center.

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Skanska cranes in action as we worked to build the Oculus entrance portal to the World Trade Center Transportation Hub last year, part of the ongoing rebuilding effort.

4.  Houston’s 35-story Capitol Tower office project – for which Skanska is both developer and builder – involved a complicated 19-hour and 20-minute concrete pour to establish the structure’s nine-and-a-half-foot thick mat foundation. Our planning was so precise that we finished the pour within three minutes of our estimate. Check out the time-lapse video here: A 20-hour concrete pour, planned to the minute.

5.  In Washington, D.C., we’re creating ice walls of up to nearly 10 feet thick to help us safely construct vertical shafts as part of our project to alleviate flooding in two densely populated neighborhoods. Learn more about how we’re freezing the ground in D.C.

6.  At Miami’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science , we assembled 32 concave orange peel-like pieces to form a full dome planetarium. Each panel weighed about 50,000 pounds and required 24-hour-a-day/seven-day-a-week work over two-and-a-half weeks to place and connect each panel. Here’s how we did it: In Miami, successfully assembling an “orange.”

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In the foreground, 32 concave pieces make up the planetarium at Miami’s iconic Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.

7.  Regional Environmental Manager Carissa Agnese challenged our joint venture team at Virginia’s Elizabeth River Tunnels project to take sustainable construction of a civil infrastructure project to a higher level. See how we rose to the challenge: If you don’t think heavy civil construction projects can be green, think again.

8.  Wendy (Li) MacLeod-Roemer isn’t just a senior project manager: this past year she also finished her doctorate in organization management at Stanford University. In her thesis, she explored how lean manufacturing-inspired performance management can transform construction projects. For key takeaways on performance management and her research – including what leads to happier customers – check out her post: This thesis shows how performance management can improve client satisfaction.

9.  According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the single greatest safety risk on a construction site is falling. Aerial work platforms are safer than ladders for working at heights, but even AWPs have risks. In this post by Chief EHS Officer Paul Haining, learn how we’re taking aerial work platform safety to new heights.

10.  Last but definitely not least: in 2015 our Innovation, Science and Technology Building project at Florida Polytechnic University won Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine’s highest honor: Global Project of the Year. In this blog post, we explore what it took to bring to life this intricate design from world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava: The path to ENR magazine’s highest honor.

 

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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What you missed from the Build America Infrastructure Investment Summit

American infrastructure is in great need of investment, and it will take strong political leadership to make meaningful improvements. As one step toward that larger goal, it was great that the Obama Administration on October 9 hosted the Infrastructure Investment Summit to rally support for the Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide effort launched in July to advance the U.S. market for public-private partnerships. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Secretary of the Department of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew were among those who spoke at this D.C. event to an audience that included leaders from state and local governments and businesses, including Skanska.

While this entire event was great, our favorite part was directly related to Skanska’s latest P3, the I-4 Ultimate project for which our I-4 Mobility Partners team is providing finance, design, construction, operations and maintenance services to reconstruct and widen 21 miles of Interstate 4 through Orlando, Fla. Before the crowd, Foxx announced a $950 million Transportation Department loan to help pay for this project. This is the largest loan that the U.S. DOT has awarded to a public-private partnership, and is a significant step forward for P3s in America.

In case you missed this event, below is the conversation about it from social media.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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