A new International Organization for Standardization/Technical Specification (ISO/TS) aims to streamline how environmental impacts of civil engineering projects are reported.
ISO/TS 21929-2, Sustainability in Building Construction–Sustainability Indicators Part 2: Framework for the Development of Indicators for Civil Engineering Works, establishes a core list of aspects and impacts for assessing sustainability performance of civil engineering works.
Civil works for large buildings, industrial plants, or campuses have significant environmental, economic, and social ramifications. These are the three pillars of sustainable development. The ISO standard was created because the players involved needed to develop strategies to address these sustainability challenges.
The technical specification adapts general sustainability principles for civil engineering works; it includes a framework for developing sustainability indicators for use in assessing the economic, environmental, and social impacts of civil engineering works. The established core aspects and impacts serve as a basis for developing indicators to assess sustainability performance of new or existing works, taking into account their design, construction, operation, maintenance, refurbishment, and end of life.
ISO/TS 21929-2 describes how to use sustainability indicators with regard to civil engineering works and lays down rules for establishing a system of indicators. It explains the relation to other standards such as ISO 14000 on environmental management, ISO 26000 on social responsibility, and ISO 15392 for sustainability in building construction.
There are many sustainability issues of concern, from the use of energy resources to job creation and cultural heritage. The choice of relevant indicators will depend on the needs of interested parties, decision-makers, the works in question, and their local context and availability of information.
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