Busting The Myths: What the “S-word” Can Mean For Construction and Development

“Sustainability.”

The word has crept into the mainstream of American life – from the food we eat and clothes we wear to the cars we drive and furniture we sit on. More and more consumers want to know what materials were used to make the products we buy and how they affect our bodies and the environment.

It’s a trendy term. The problem, however, is that it’s being used in so many different ways that people don’t even know what it means anymore.  This is especially an issue in the construction, design and development industry, where it is often used interchangeably (and incorrectly) with “green.”

Sustainability is simply the ability of something to endure over time. At Skanska, we are committed to our purpose, “we build for a better society.” This captures our belief that our work comes with a responsibility to help our local communities thrive for generations to come. Certainly, things that help conserve the natural environment play a large role in contributing to sustainability; so too do economic and social factors. As a contractor and developer, we have an outsized ability to affect sustainability through green building practices, working safely and ethically, promoting diversity and inclusion where we work and giving back to the communities where we work.

We think that approach gives clarity to the sustainability discussion, and it allows us to help our customers make project decisions that best align with their sustainability goals. This is important as there are many misconceptions about how to incorporate sustainability elements into projects. Without careful planning, the choices may not deliver the hoped-for value.

The Living Building at Georgia Tech is on track to become the first Living Building Challenge 3.1-certified facility of its size and function in the Southeast. Photo credit: The Miller Hull Partnership in collaboration with Lord Aeck Sargent.

Below is a list of the most common misconceptions when it comes to sustainability:

Myth 1. Sustainability is all about the environment.
Sustainability absolutely includes things we call “green,” but there’s more to it. Social and economic considerations must be included, which is why we believe sustainability encompasses safety, ethics, community investment and diversity and inclusion. For example, ethics can greatly affect a company’s ability to stand the test of time. A company truly invested in sustainability needs to back up the words with action. For a building project, that might mean choosing materials produced in environmentally responsible ways by a properly paid labor force. Globally, there are too many examples of goods and materials manufactured in unsafe environments by an exploited workforce. Making the sustainable decision in this case has more to do with social equity than the environmental protection. Consumer surveys indicate that our customers prefer ethical companies. This area should get more attention.

Myth 2. Applying sustainability initiatives into a project plan is expensive.
This myth most often refers to construction materials and systems. There’s good news: builders have been doing this for more than 20 years. The market for “sustainable” materials is strong. With the right planning, there is no reason for construction costs to be significantly higher than a baseline project.

Sometimes it makes sense to invest more upfront on high-quality items so that, in the long-term, you save money on efficiency and repair/maintenance costs. But, you have to consider the lifecycle of the project. You could spend too much money on a rainwater collection system to offset water use. If the savings in municipal water use will offset the cost of rainwater collection system in 100 years and you believe the system will work as designed for 50, it’s not a good investment. Focusing on more water efficient fixtures instead would be a better choice to lower water use.

On the flip side, if you can utilize systems that offer significant savings over the project life cycle, things pencil out differently. In our flagship office in the Empire State Building, we put in HVAC and water systems that were a bit more expensive upfront, but paid for themselves in less than half of the term of our lease, saving us a quarter of a million dollars over the life of the lease.

With realistic planning and an honest view of project life cycle, construction costs should not be affected.

The UF Heart and Vascular Hospital opened earlier this year in Gainesville, Florida and is pursuing Green Globes certification — an assessment of environmental performance and sustainable design.

Myth 3. Sustainability measures will delay a project.
How much planning was done ahead of time? If you didn’t consider a green roof or want to add solar panels to your project after it is completed designed, that’s going to affect schedule the way any design change would. If you decide midway through procurement that you want to focus on engaging more small businesses, but haven’t worked with your contractor to create bid packages that certified DBE businesses can handle, it’s going to affect schedule, as well. Sustainable elements do not delay projects; waiting to consider sustainable strategies too late in design and making changes that significantly impact a project’s scope delays projects.

Myth 4. Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) departments handle sustainability initiatives for all projects.
While the EHS group is critical to sustainability efforts by establishing project-specific environmental management systems (EMS), maintaining ISO 14001 certification and ensuring that the EMS is carried out in the field, sustainability begins long before the first spade hits the ground and crosses many areas of our business. Design managers work with design partners to create systems that match a customer’s sustainability aspirations. Outreach teams network with traditionally-underutilized businesses long before subcontractor bids are solicited. Estimators work to get the best pricing on the right materials. Sustainability isn’t the exclusive responsibility of any single department. It’s a corporate cultural commitment as much as a technical requirement.  After procurement, operations looks for opportunities for efficiencies in means and methods, as well as reusing materials or descoping a project. Procurement managers work with vendors and subcontractors to make sure sustainability requirements are met and encourage our supply chain to reduce waste, decrease packaging and bring innovation to our sustainability program.

Last year, Stone 34 completed Seattle’s Deep Green Pilot Program.

Once sustainability strategies have been put in place, the next step is to think about how to measure them.

To assess sustainability, we use certification systems like LEED for our building projects and, for infrastructure projects, the Envision Rating System to tell the story and explain to our stakeholders some of the benefits of our projects that may not be apparent to the public. A recent example of a project receiving Envision certification is the Interstate 4 (I-4) in Orlando, Florida.

In addition, certification systems can be used to benchmark our projects and look for opportunities to further reduce material waste, increase operational efficiency, lessen negative impacts, mitigate risks and invest in the community.

The goal is to always plan and execute work within budget, on schedule, with minimal negative impacts and maximum positive impacts, both in construction and the operations and maintenance of the asset.

All projects should be thinking about sustainability from conception.  The sustainability conversation should start at the very beginning of a project and continue all the way through to execution to achieve the full benefits: making the best investment that contributes to the overall health and prosperity of our customer’s business and community for years to come.

Stacy Smedley

Stacy Smedley

Stacy Smedley is Director of Sustainability at Skanska

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How I-4 Received Envision® Platinum and What It Means for Future Infrastructure Projects

Earlier this year, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published a report giving the U.S. a D+ grade for infrastructure conditions and performance. The report, published every four years, gained a lot of attention, with stories about the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure constantly making headline news across the U.S. From bridges and tunnels, to transit, rail and airports, improvements are needed to ensure that the U.S. is built for the future.

Here are some staggering statistics from ASCE:

– Of the 614,387 bridges in the U.S., 9.1% (or 56,007) are deemed structurally deficient.

– One out of every five miles of America’s major highways are in poor condition and in need of extensive rehabilitation. As a result, congestion and traffic delays cost the country $160 billion in wasted time and fuel.

– 24 of the top 30 major airports may soon experience “Thanksgiving-peak traffic volume” at least one day every week.

An example of a roadway in need of major improvements and a complete overhaul is Interstate 4 (I-4) in Florida – and it is getting help via an important civil infrastructure effort in the I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project. The project is using a public-private partnership (P3) delivery method to bring in private investment to complete the project.

As one of Florida’s largest transportation projects ever and one of Skanska’s three P3s in the U.S., the I-4 Ultimate is building in a sustainable manner and has received the highest sustainability recognition: the Institute For Sustainable Infrastructure’s  Envision® Platinum Certification. I-4 Mobility Partners (I4MP), the project consortium, was honored with the award at a ceremony held in Orlando, Florida.

Interstate 4 (I-4) in Florida.

Several industry leaders formed the I-4 Mobility Partners team to design, build, finance, and operate the project thru a 40-year P3 concession agreement with a total design and construction cost of $2.323 billion dollars. The members of the I4MP team include the following:

– Skanska Infrastructure Development (Equity Member)

– John Laing Investments Limited (Equity Member)

– SGL Constructors (SGL) – Construction Joint Venture – Skanska (Lead Joint Venture Partner) Granite Construction Company and the Lane Construction Corporation

– Design Joint Venture – HDR Engineering, Inc. and Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. (Lead Engineer)

– Infrastructure Corporation of America (Lead Operations and Maintenance Firm)

I-4 Ultimate, the reconstruction of 21 miles of roadway in Central Florida, is the largest project to date to receive the Envision® Platinum certification. This is the second Skanska project to receive this distinction (Expo Line Phase 2 in Los Angeles, CA was Skanska’s first project to earn Envision). The award recognizes sustainability measures applied in the planning and design phases of a project.

At a time in our nation’s history where we have an opportunity to repair and construct new infrastructure for the continued safety and health of our country, there’s something to be said about building with the environment in mind; mainly because that’s just smart building. Simply said, sustainability measures are critical and should be implemented at the onset of every project.

Certifications, such as Envision®, are attainable on all civil infrastructure projects.  With the I-4 Ultimate project, we don’t have to look far to know that this is true.

Steps Taken To Achieve ENVISION

Envision, which was created in 2012, provides a framework for evaluating infrastructure projects similar to how the LEED® evaluation system works for building projects. Envision has five areas under which points are assigned: quality of life, leadership, resource allocation, natural world, and climate and risk.

The I-4 Ultimate project received high scores in three of those categories:

Quality of Life: Central Florida’s local history and unique community character are reflected in the design because there are hundreds of nearby buildings, districts and sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several of these places are within the project limits, including the town of Eatonville, Griffin Park and the Holden-Parramore Historic District.

Leadership: To meet the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) sustainability goals, an agenda was created early in the program to provide the project’s foundation. This includes social priorities such as health and safety, community involvement and business ethics; environmental priorities, including energy, carbon, materials, water and local impacts; and economic priorities such as project selection criteria, supply chain management and value added to society.

Natural World: A comprehensive Contamination Management Plan and Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan was developed to prevent pollutants from contaminating soils, surface water and groundwater. Four underground storage tanks and 145 tons of soil contamination from historic releases have been removed from the project site.

Invasive species are controlled by removing existing Brazilian Pepper trees and Tropical Soda Apple shrubs along the project’s right-of-way, while including non-invasive native plants for landscaping and maintaining wetland functions.

Our team receiving the award on July 20, 2017.

What this Means for Future Infrastructure Projects

The ongoing conversations about needed investment to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure are complicated, but building sustainably shouldn’t be. There is a real opportunity to not only ‘do the right thing,’ but to build environmentally conscious projects that will have lasting effects for decades to come. Not to mention, it’s good business for both the public and private sectors and can deliver economic, social and environmental benefits in the process.

Envision, as an example, helps quantify those benefits and make them demonstrable at the critical point of procurement – when decision makers have the best chance to make impactful and lasting decisions.

Vive le vert! Skanska’s commitment to sustainability runs deep

We’re not champions for green because of international agreements – although we’ve put our name to paper in support of them on more than one occasion. We’re not champions for green because it’s what the vast majority of our customers and employees want – though they do.

We’re champions for sustainability because sustainability is core to our values.  We are a construction and development company.  We like to say we build what matters.  The schools, bridges, homes, hospitals, office buildings, airports and countless other forms of social and civil infrastructure we build have immediate and lasting effects on the communities where we work.

Think back to 1995. There was no such thing as LEED®.  “Green” defined a color, not a high-performing building.  “Renewables” probably had more to do with magazine subscriptions than how your electricity was generated.

That same year, Skanska joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. A year later, the first of our business units achieved ISO 14001 certification (today, our entire business carries this environmental certification). The point is, Skanska is all in on sustainability and has been for more than two decades.

While we can build virtually anything, we endeavor to build the best, most sustainable projects.  That is not only the right thing to do; it is the most responsible business strategy supporting our investors, our customers and our communities. When we put our resources to work in support of research like the Living Building Financial Study, we lay the groundwork that, over the past 10 years, has seen deep green net-zero energy and water buildings go from dream, to reality. When we are good stewards of the environment surrounding our projects, we ensure that construction activities don’t foul the water that our communities depend on. When we develop projects to achieve LEED Gold certification or better, we help make sure our growing cities can accommodate more people and a larger built environment by conserving resources. If we help save the planet in the process, all the better. We’ll continue to push the boundaries to get to the next level of sustainable performance like we always have.

The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music in Miami was awarded LEED Platinum earlier this year and features rooftop solar panels that provide about 16% of the building’s electricity needs.

Today, we join hundreds of like-minded businesses universities, municipal and state governments to say that Skanska’s commitment to sustainability isn’t affected by whether or not our federal government joins the chorus in support of the Paris Accord.

We will stay the course because regardless of the compelling science regarding global warming, it is smart to build buildings and infrastructure projects that pump less pollution into the atmosphere.

West Riverfront Park in Nashville achieved LEED Gold certification and features over one mile of multi-use greenway trails.

It is smart to build projects that are so efficient that they save tenants and owners millions of dollars in utility costs.

It is smart to build highways that are lit by lights that are a fraction of the cost to operate and safer to maintain.

It is smart to build schools and hospitals that use designs proven to improve educational and health outcomes.

Simply: It is always smart to seek new and innovative ways to deliver better value. And a lot of those happen to correlate with the greenest ways to deliver value, too.

Capitol Tower is the first Houston development to reach LEED v4 Platinum precertification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and was one of only three core and shell projects nationally pre-certified under the standard. The building will use 25 percent less energy than typical facilities.

Carbon is a useful common denominator in doing the math on delivering valuable assets that will endure over time.  Using carbon values, it is possible to tally the cost of dissimilar things like utilities, materials, transportation of materials and people, so the total life cycle benefit of different solutions can be compared.  Owners and project teams can then pick the smartest solution.  That is smart business, Paris Accord or not.

We look forward to exploring ways to drive a low-carbon economy and a more sustainable future with our partners and clients because it’s in our blood. We made our decision on the Paris Accord long before it was ratified and the decision was easy: we are all in.

Elizabeth Heider

Elizabeth Heider

Chief Sustainability Officer, Skanska USA

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Embracing the WELL Building Standard: The Next Step in Green

Did you turn off the lamp on your desk today before you left the office? Did you remember to reach down and turn off the power strip your computer was plugged into? When you got home from work, did you walk through the house turning off all the lights the kids had left on, and did you reach over and turn off the running water while they were brushing their teeth?

You probably did because Earth Day is upon us. It’s the one day a year when reminders are everywhere to do the thousands of small things that can make a difference in the health and well-being of our planet and in our future.

What started in 1970 as a call to protect the environment for future generations, has turned into a global movement. At Skanska, we don’t wait for Earth Day to work toward building a better society. We work hard to bring innovative ideas and sustainable solutions to each and every project we undertake.

 LEED certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, has been the standard in our industry for many years for designing and building environmentally preferable and energy-efficient buildings. LEED – and other standards – have evolved raising the bar over the years.

Enter the WELL Building Standard, by the International Well Building Institute. The certification builds on the foundation of LEED, and goes further. WELL version 1 has been in the development stage the last five years, going though both pilot and peer review, and it’s now ready for prime time, with version 2 expected late 2017/early 2018. We expect to see a growing interest in applying this standard to new building construction, actively building human health into the planetary improvements that Earth Day founders originally envisioned.

And with good reason. When you consider that 90% of our time is spent in buildings, how these environments can contribute to workplace productivity, health and wellness is the logical next step in the smart building movement.

Because the U.S. is mostly a service economy, most companies spend less than 10% on their mortgage and utilities and 90% on personnel. The bigger investment, therefore, is in people, so creating an environment that nurtures the health and well-being of a workforce, and reduces sickness, absenteeism and healthcare costs are important. It creates a virtuous cycle in which we all benefit.

We’ve all read about how millennials are reshaping the workplace, seeking live/work/play environments. By 2020, millennials will account for 50% of the global workforce. And this cohort is full of sustainability natives, meaning they see building green as a smart and natural thing to do. I suspect that they will be quick to embrace WELL.

The WELL standard is a win-win for both the building owner and the workforce. From the building owner’s perspective, they can see real savings by lowering absenteeism and presenteeism, where workers are sick on the job, for example. This lost productivity is said to cost U.S. employers more than $570 billion annually (based on the Integrated Benefits Institute and includes workers compensation, disability and group health program expenses). The WELL standard creates and environment built on health and wellness, keeping people active and energetic. On the workforce side, this way of smart building attracts employees who seek to work in spaces and buildings that have a ‘cool’ factor and play a role in improving on the green-built foundation.

What’s WELL all about? WELL addresses seven concepts:

1. Air: WELL establishes requirements in buildings that promote clean air and reduce or minimize the sources of indoor air pollution

2. Water: WELL promotes safe and clean water through the implementation of proper filtration techniques and regular testing

3. Nourishment: WELL requires the availability of fresh and wholesome foods, limits highly-processed ingredients and supports mindful eating

4. Light: WELL provides illumination guidelines that minimize disruption to the body’s circadian system, enhance productivity and support good sleep quality

5. Fitness: WELL promotes the integration of physical activity into everyday life by providing opportunities and support for an active lifestyle and discouraging sedentary behaviors

6. Comfort: WELL considers thermal, acoustic, ergonomic, and olfactory comfort to optimize indoor working environments

7. Mind: WELL optimizes cognitive and emotional health through design, technology, and treatment strategies

From a logistical perspective, the organization that certifies LEED projects, the Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI) also certifies WELL projects. This makes it easy to see how close a LEED project is to gaining WELL certification. WELL goes further by requiring information from employer on policies and benefits that go beyond the built environment.

The triple bottom line is about planet, profit and people. WELL doubles down on all three aspects of sustainability building on LEED’s strong foundation. It’s a fast and direct on-ramp to next generation buildings and the people who will occupy them. And we need to keep going.

Elizabeth Heider

Elizabeth Heider

Chief Sustainability Officer, Skanska USA

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Check out our top 12 construction time-lapse videos

Today, we’re taking a step back (and up) to offer a unique perspective on some of our most complex projects. Building anything new often takes several years, but nothing accelerates the construction process like a time-lapse video to transform a project before your eyes. The videos below highlight the conversion of an empty space or hole in the ground into something meaningful and impressive.

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus

In 2016, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub opened in downtown Manhattan, the culmination of our 15-year journey in restoring and enhancing transportation access to Lower Manhattan. Our team fabricated and erected the hub’s “Oculus” – a Santiago Calatrava-designed structure comprised of approximately 11,500 tons of structural steel consisting of portals, arches and rafters that combined give the structure a unique shape similar to a bird in flight. To erect the Oculus, we used two highly specialized tower cranes manufactured explicitly for this unique project. The Oculus is the centerpiece of the new hub and will serve more than 250,000 pedestrians per day as the primary link for access to New Jersey PATH trains and 11 New York City subway lines. More than a national symbol, the Oculus is a global icon that symbolizes the successful rebirth of Downtown Manhattan.

99M Street, SE

In Washington, D.C., our team is developing and building 99M Street, SE, an 11-story, 234,000-square-foot Class A office building in Washington’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood just steps from the Washington Nationals Ballpark. Located at the corner of 1st and M Streets, this prime office space will include a green roof and rooftop terrace, a club-grade fitness facility, secure bicycle storage and four levels of underground parking. The complex excavation for 99M began in November 2015 and nearly 500 construction workers have dedicated approximately 51,200 work hours to complete the excavation and foundation work this month. As part of the excavation process 34,000 cubic yards of soil and rock were removed from the site, enough to fill more than 10 Olympic-size pools.

The New York Wheel

In Staten Island, we completed the foundation for the New York Wheel, a 630-foot observation wheel that will rise over the southern end of New York Harbor and provide unique views of the Manhattan skyline. Our team executed two massive concrete placements for the observation wheel pile caps. Each placement saw nearly 4,000 cubic yards of 10,000 psi, self-consolidating concrete that was placed continuously over 14 hours.

Fore River Bridge

In Quincy, Massachusetts, our team transported a custom-built span from a shipyard down the Weymouth Fore River on a custom-built barge to the Fore River Bridge. Then, the nearly three million pounds of steel was lifted approximately 60 feet and installed between the two existing towers as the outgoing tide lowered it into place. A crucial factor was timing the ride of the river, which moves up and down as much as eight feet. The moving tide was necessary for floating in and properly placing the new span.

Philadelphia International Airport

After six months of detailed planning and coordination, we erected a 91,000-pound, 100-foot-long pre-assembled baggage conveyor bridge over the main airport departure road in less than eight hours. The work took place in the middle of the night to minimize any potential disruption to airport operations.

Capitol Tower

In Houston, our 35-story Capitol Tower office project – which is currently under development – started with a 19-hour, 20-minute concrete pour to create a mat foundation that varies between seven and nine-and-a-half feet thick. Our planning and execution of this 9,020 cubic-yard continuous pour was so precise that the actual duration was within three minutes of what we originally planned.

Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

In Miami, we are building the state-of-the-art, 280,000-SF, multi-use science and technology museum, planetarium and aquarium being constructed in Museum Park in the Greater Miami Downtown area. The 500,000-gallon aquarium required a continuous concrete pour that took 24 hours and 49 minutes. This pour sets the foundation for the Gulf Stream Tank that will be home to a number of deep-sea species viewable from both top and bottom.

Recently, we installed a 31-foot, 13-inch thick, 60,000-pound viewing oculus in a complex crane operation that required five years of planning.

Second Avenue Subway

In New York City, our crews dug two-and-a-half miles of tunnels and caverns, set the tracks and installed the communications network for the Second Avenue Subway, which will move an estimated 200,000 people a day. The new line runs from East 63rd Street to East 96th Street connecting with midtown Manhattan and beyond. Excavations for the 86th Street station required the removal of 450,000 tons of material in order to create a subterranean “launch box” or starting point where the tunnel boring machine (TBM) could be assembled and begin its work.

MetLife Stadium

In East Rutherford, New Jersey, we built MetLife Stadium, one of the most sustainable and technologically advanced open-air stadiums with seats for close to 85,000 spectators. The stadium is home for the New York Giants and the New York Jets, which makes it the first facility built specifically to accommodate two U.S. National Football League (NFL) teams. Incorporating innovative methods both in the construction of the facility and in its design, our team worked in collaboration with both franchises to cater to the needs of two different teams.

Tampa International Airport (TIA)

In Tampa, Florida, our team is currently at work on our $130 million portion of the $1 billion Tampa International Airport (TIA) redevelopment plan, which includes the main terminal building expansion, construction of a new car rental facility and the new automated people mover. Last summer, our team unveiled the east side of the expansion, including two new restaurants, glass curtain walls and new, more modern finishes.

LaGuardia Airport

In New York, we are leading the design and construction of LaGuardia Airport through an innovative public-private partnership (PPP), which is the largest in the United States. With our partners, we will design, build, operate and maintain the Central Terminal B facility. Right now, multiple phases of work are being performed on site. The P-2 parking garage demolition has been completed, clearing the way for pile driving and foundation work on the new airport terminal building.

Have a cool project coming up that could make for an interesting time-lapse video? Contact us at USACommunications@Skanska.com.

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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The ultimate sustainability award at I-4: Envision® Platinum

Our I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project has won the prestigious Envision® Platinum award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). I-4 Ultimate, the reconstruction of 21 miles of roadway in Central Florida, stands to be the largest project certified by Envision to date. I-4 Ultimate is one of Skanska’s three public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the United States in addition to LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B in New York and the Elizabeth River Tunnels in Virginia. At Skanska, we are advocates for PPPs because they set the stage for successful sustainability planning by involving all parties – from the architects to the future operators – from day one.

“The entire I-4 Ultimate team is thrilled to receive this recognition for our efforts to protect the environment while creating a signature corridor for the entire region,” said Loreen Bobo, P.E. who is the I-4 Ultimate Construction Program Manager for the Florida Department of Transportation. “This award shows that sustainability goals are achievable alongside other primary missions of our agency to enhance the economic prosperity and preserve the quality of our environment and communities.”

Proposed rendering of the future SR 436 Interchange, which is currently one of the most congested intersections in Florida with more than 100,000 motorists traveling on it per day.

Our PPP team at I-4 Mobility Partners (I4MP) is doing more than building new infrastructure, it is also relocating protected wildlife such as tortoises and osprey, planting native trees such as elms and maples, and recycling 99 percent of the concrete and steel removed from roads and bridges.

Public spaces are being created to connect and engage the community through group sport activities, farmer’s markets, art fairs and parks. Residents will also be able to enjoy enhanced walkability, biking and public transportation options with connections to the SunRail commuter rail system and LYNX, Orlando’s local bus service. All in all, we are fully invested in improving the places where we work and live.

The proposed project design includes accent lighting, illuminated fountains, enhanced bridge architecture and architectural cladding.

“Since day one, our entire team has been committed to achieving the highest standards under Envision,” said Sal Taddeo, Chief Operating Officer East, Skanska USA Civil. “Our goal is to deliver one of the country’s most complex roadway projects while reaching a top level of sustainable infrastructure performance that can serve as a role model for other projects of its kind.”

The road to sustainable infrastructure

Created in 2012, Envision provides a framework for evaluating infrastructure projects similar to how the LEED® evaluation system works for building projects. The ranking 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. There are five categories measured: Quality of Life, Leadership, Natural World, Resource Allocation, and Climate and Risk.

I-4 Ultimate received high scores in three key categories:

Quality of Life: Central Florida’s local history and unique community character are being reflected in the design because there are hundreds of nearby buildings, districts and sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several of these places are within the project limits, including the town of Eatonville, Griffin Park and the Holden-Parramore Historic District.

Founded in 1887, the town of Eatonville was the first incorporated African-American town in the US. The main road — Kennedy Boulevard which passes under the new I-4 project — once served as a wagon trail. Key landscape and historic features will be integrated into the bridge design at Kennedy Boulevard to honor the city’s history.

Leadership: To meet FDOT’s sustainability goals, an agenda was created early in the program to provide the project’s foundation. This includes social priorities such as health and safety, community involvement and business ethics; environmental priorities, including energy, carbon, materials, water and local impacts; and economic priorities such as project selection criteria, supply chain management and value added to society.

Natural World: A comprehensive Contamination Management Plan and Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan was developed to prevent pollutants from contaminating soils, surface water and groundwater. Four underground storage tanks and 145 tons of petroleum that impacted soils and debris have been removed from the project site.

Invasive species are being controlled by removing existing Brazilian Pepper trees and Tropical Soda Apple shrubs along the project’s right-of-way while including non-invasive plants for landscaping and maintaining wetland functions.

The native landscaping proposed for this project includes up to 14,225 trees, 9,825 palms and 65,900 native shrubs and grasses.

Setting new sustainability records

In the fall of 2016, our Expo Line 2 Light Rail transit project in Los Angeles received Envision Platinum certification, making it the first transit project to receive the certification. Skanska has been involved in Envision since its inception and we are proud to see that momentum continues to grow. We are a charter member of ISI and we have supported more than 60 employees in achieving the Envision Sustainability Professional designation.

Moving forward, all of our 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.

This marks the first time a Florida project has been honored by the ISI and the second time a Skanska project has been honored.

Thank you to our teammates at I-4 Mobility Partners

Our I-4 Mobility Partners team is designing, building, financing, and operating the project through a 40-year P3 concession agreement with a total design and construction cost of $2.323 billion dollars. We have two roles: one as an equity member through our Infrastructure Development group and a second as part of the SGL Constructors (SGL), which is the Skanska-led joint venture with Granite Construction Company and the Lane Construction Company.

Other members of the I4MP team include John Laing Invesments Limited; Design Joint Venture – HDR Engineering and Jacobs Engineering Group; and Infrastructure Corporation of America.

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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Sustainability and the Role of the Financial Professional

At Skanska, we pride ourselves on being a leader in green and sustainable building, from our offices to our job sites.

Helping clients to see “green” and “sustainable” as project elements that are not only attainable but essential is a core part of our values which drive us to be the best company we can.

DSCN0876

Being green and sustainable isn’t just for the designers, engineers and builders seeking certification for a project. A critical piece of the equation lies in the initial stages of development, with the finance professionals who oversee the budgetary implications of these choices.

Finance professionals need to play an active role in the conversation to help companies remain competitive, enhance future bid opportunities, and realize stronger margins.

Our Ed Johnston, Vice President in our Civil business unit, helps our customers see those realities. Check out his piece on  Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) for more on the subject.

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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A Sustainable Journey Need Not Be the Road Less Traveled

To mark Earth Day 2016, we asked our Chief Sustainability Officer Beth Heider to capture the essence of a recent address she gave to the Women Build America conference earlier this month. In that address, Beth explored a new paradigm to create value driven leadership across diverse business units, cultures and profit structures. 

When a restaurant advertises “home cooking,” that isn’t enough information to make me head inside and order a meal.  For me, it really depends on whose home cooking we’re talking about. In the end, it’s a value proposition.

The same is true for corporations: when we choose to laud or emulate a company’s efforts, we need to ask, are we talking about Walt Disney or Bernie Madoff?

Values are meant to articulate our own high aspirations; a comprehensive culture that transcends profit.  To that end, values-driven leadership doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, it is a journey that a company and its employees take together.

I have a values journey of my own – one that articulates my deeply held beliefs about sustainable building practices and their importance to leaving a desirable legacy for future generations.

Like many journeys, I didn’t intentionally set out to get to where I am today.  My own values served as an internal compass. It brought me to intersect with Skanska, which followed a values compass of its own.

Let me rewind.

2015 LOGO-BuildingWhatMatters-Green

Two decades and two employers and ago, my boss at a construction firm came storming into our open office area – this kind of a mosh pit of humanity – where we were sweating to get a bid together.   He yelled, “The problem with you, Heider, is that you need to learn how to lie better.”

One of our subs, who always came through with good prices and complete scopes had asked me a fair question and I answered him honestly – behavior that my boss found unacceptable.  Stunned and humiliated at his tongue lashing, and after a good cry in the ladies room and three months to think it over, I quit to take a job at a consulting firm. That experience made me unsure that I ever wanted to work at another construction company, doubting the industry would ever align with my values compass. Six years later, I found myself entertaining a job offer from Skanska, one of the biggest construction companies on the planet.

At the time, Skanska was pursuing two federal courthouse projects. Having spent three years building a cost tool to establish the more than $1 billion federal budget for new court construction, Skanska wanted me to bring that expertise to their shop.  But before I took what I thought would be a dream assignment, I needed to know that their values compass pointed in the same direction as mine.

I got my answer in the form of two events, one at Skanska and one in my own career.

In 1997, Skanska was building a rail tunnel in Hallandsås, Sweden. The tunnel ran through a particularly nasty piece of geology and the injectable grout used to manage water infiltration leached into a nearby aquifer.  An environmental disaster followed, and news reports of poisoned cows and sick workers had a devastating effect on Skanska’s reputation.

Rather than phoning in a fix, Skanska leadership chose to change how they did business: having a third-party certify all future operations globally under ISO 14001 Environmental Standards.  ISO requires an environmental management plan that addresses project-specific hazards, and further commits a company to incrementally raise the bar on its own environmental performance. It required a significant financial investment from Skanska, as well as thorough company-wide education. But it was the right thing to do, and Skanska emerged to successfully continue with the project.

Meanwhile, back in the US, GSA was beginning its own journey, exploring the cost commitment necessary to green the federal workplace.  Daunting to my colleagues but fascinating to me, I climbed aboard the green bus. It was the beginning of my own sustainability journey – making the business case for green – and unbeknownst to me, put me on an intercept course with Skanska, whose values compass that had been reset by the Hallandsås tunnel experience, and now aligned with my own.

Last year, Skanska cut the ribbon on the Hallandsås Tunnel, successfully completed under  ISO 14001 certification and without further environmental incident.

PHOTO-Hallandsås Tunnel

Now, nearly 20 years later, Skanska is looking inward again and asking: do we really need to wait for the next crisis to change how we operate, or can we change to prevent the next crisis from happening? Further, why do we exist as a company?  What is our purpose?

As builders, Skanska creates projects that fulfill the needs of society – whether a tunnel, a hospital, a commercial building or an airport.

Equally important is how we create those critical projects. We aspire, not only to “do less bad,” but to accomplish good. Our corporate values – depicted as four connected arcs – form the foundation for our corporate purpose: to Build for a Better Society:

Care for Life:

    for the safety of our people and the health of our environment, and to be accountable for both;

Act Ethically and Transparently:

    to be honest, to do what’s right and to adhere to a clearly delineated Code of Conduct;

Be Better Together:

    we believe in collaboration that drives innovation and continuous improvement, while embracing and harnessing the power of diversity to foster an inclusive culture;

Commit to Customers:

    to listen, understand and add value to our customers so they are successful.

This rearticulation of our values compass is charting yet another new course for Skanska.

Former CEO of Alcoa and Secretary of the US Treasury Paul O’Neil has said, “The number one reason employees choose to stay in their current job isn’t because they work for a great company – it is because they felt they were enabled to contribute to achieve shared and ambitious goals.”

2016 PHOTO-SkanskaManInPPE

Millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025.  Studies emphasize they prize values over compensation at all stages of their careers, including the employers they choose, the assignments they accept and the decisions they make as they take on more senior-level roles.  They want to work for organizations that have purpose beyond profit and that align with their own moral compass.

This is not just a new value – more senior employees can also be driven by that satisfaction of having contributed to something that defines the greater good and leaves a generational legacy worth inheriting.  That should give us all great hope for the future of our collective journey. With a values compass aligned with our peers, it is a path we can embrace, because walking it together will elevate our industry and our world.

Elizabeth Heider

Elizabeth Heider

Chief Sustainability Officer, Skanska USA

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The Greening Of Healthcare

As a growing number of hospitals continue to look for ways to decrease operating costs and increase efficiencies, we’re helping them analyze and build upon their own sustainability programs.

Facility-wide enhancements – including insulating walls and roofs, reduce waste from operations and using renewable power – can have immediate cost savings, with a return on investment in just a few years.

Some facilities are going a step further, leading the charge to “Net-Zero,” an approach that includes whole life cycle cost analysis.

Our infographic below spells it all out:

2016-04 INFOGRAPHIC-GreenHealthCare-FINAL2

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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We’re a little bit Country…

We love Building What Matters – whether that’s critical infrastructure, hospitals and schools or entertainment venues that enrich local communities.

We’re proud to have played a role in the construction of the Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, TN, which the Academy of Country Music has honored with an ACM Industry Award for Venue of the Year, Medium Capacity, and cited as a “venue which contributes so much to the artistry, success and longevity of country music.” The ACM Awards will be broadcast this weekend.

As the only outdoor amphitheater in the United States to achieve a LEED Gold Certification, the venue is located inside of the redeveloped 11-acre Riverfront Park, a vibrant cultural space in the heart of downtown Nashville.

The park was conceived with sustainability in mind: diverting 88 percent of construction waste from landfill and using 30 percent less potable water than the LEED baseline. Renewable energy is generated on-site through a geothermal heating and cooling system, while a rainwater harvesting system helps recycle water for irrigation.

To learn more about the park’s sustainable redevelopment, check out our Riverfront Park infographic:

2016 INFOGRAPHIC-AscendAmphitheater

 

 

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.

More Posts - Website