Resources are the assets that are needed to build infrastructure (construction) and keep it running (operations). This category is broadly concerned with the quantity, source, and characteristics of these resources and their impacts on the overall sustainability of the project. Resources addressed in this rating system include physical materials, both those that are consumed and that leave the project, energy for construction, operation, and maintenance, and water use. Each of these materials is finite in its source and should be treated as an asset to use respectfully. Materials, Energy, and Water comprise the three subcategories of Resource Allocation.
Minimizing the total amount of material used should be a primary consideration for infrastructure projects. Minimizing material use reduces the amount of natural resources that must be extracted and processed, as well as the energy that goes into producing and transporting these materials. Reducing material use must be balanced with safety, stability, and durability. The source of materials matters too. Materials obtained from far away should not be used if the same type and quality of material is available locally. Consideration for the life cycle of the materials should always be given; where it has come from as well as where it will go after its useful life in the project. Other characteristics of materials that make them more favorable for use include: percent of recycled or reused content, ability to be recycled/reused at end of life, durability, and adaptability. These characteristics all help to minimize the total amount of natural resources consumed through materials use.
Reducing overall energy use is crucial, particularly from non-renewable fossil-fuel sources. This energy source is already becoming scarce, and sustainable infrastructure projects should not over-consume a finite energy source. The use of renewable sources of energy is encouraged as a means to minimize fossil fuel consumption, but the ideal project will both reduce overall energy usage and also meet remaining needs with renewable sources if possible.
With a changing climate and increasing population, future water security is uncertain. Therefore it is critical infrastructure projects reduce overall water use, particularly potable water use. Alternative water sources, such as stormwater runoff, can be captured and reused for many functions without reducing the overall water resource. Monitoring and studying water availability is an important step in validating whether a community’s water consumption is in balance.