The objective of this project is to demonstrate the ability to apply a standardized sustainability rating system, Sustainable Communities, to any Department of Defense (DoD) installation. Sustainable Communities will enable installation commanders to actively manage their federal environmental compliance program and the overall sustainability of the installation. In response to the recent accelerated sustainability requirements and specifically the DoD Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP), Sustainable Communities provides the operational and tactical level guidance necessary for successfully meeting the federal requirements through a streamlined, continuous improvement process. Sustainable Communities provides installation commanders with a tool to prioritize investments based on life-cycle return on investment by utilizing asset management principles. Furthermore, installation commanders can assess continuous improvement by measuring their progress through an Environmental Management System (EMS) philosophy.
Sustainable Communities is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®)-like evaluation methodology for quantifying the sustainability level of the installation, which cuts across traditional organization stovepipes. Similar to how LEED® evaluates the sustainability of a single facility, Sustainable Communities will evaluate the sustainability of an entire installation.
Sustainable Communities is a rating system that uses a combination of requirements and credits to show compliance with federal requirements (requirements) and document best practices (credits). The rating system consists of 10 categories: Community Design and Development, Energy and Greenhouse Gases, Water Efficiency, Built Infrastructure, Natural Infrastructure, Materials and Waste Management, Transportation, Mission Readiness, Community Engagement, and Innovation & Regional. As part of the rating system, a selection of credits will have an investment model associated with them to enable the installation commander to prioritize investments in accordance with Executive Order 13514.
The metrics assigned to each credit or requirement will use existing data already collected by the installation. By using an EMS philosophy, the installation can evaluate itself on an annual basis and assess whether improvement is being achieved. Asset management provides a means to specify projects that affect the overall sustainability of the installation and assign value to those projects using both a traditional Savings-to-Investment Ratio (SIR) and the Sustainable Return on Investment (SROI) model.
This methodology is innovative because no other evaluation methodologies are available that incorporate not only sustainable practices but also compliance status at the installation level. One aspect all other rating systems lack is the ability to provide an economic model of the investment associated with the pursuit of a credit; this concept is built into Sustainable Communities in the form of both SIR and SROI. This financial modeling embedded in the credit definition will help commanders maximize their investment strategies with respect to installation-wide sustainability, greatly enhancing operational efficiency, sustaining mission readiness, and saving the installation money overall.
As installations strive for compliance with the federal requirements and the SSPP, Sustainable Communities will streamline the reporting process by collecting the relevant information annually (thereby reducing the burden at the installation) and providing a simple means of reporting those numbers to higher levels. Through this process, DoD can concisely show compliance status, the economic and environmental benefits of compliance, and highlight significant accomplishments across the agency. Currently, no standardized methodology exists to respond to the federal requirements and the SSPP. The expected benefits of Sustainable Communities are a reduction in the labor hours required for reporting and the ability of installation commanders to support the SSPP by prioritizing their investments based on life-cycle return on investment. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2012)