A Rating System for Sustainability of Industrial Projects with Application in Oil Sands and Heavy Oil Projects: Origins and Fundamentals

  •  Cesar Poveda    
  •  Michael Lipsett    


Measures for assessing the environmental impact and long-term sustainability will become an increasingly important requirement in industrial project management. The concept of sustainability influences all aspects of a project, from its earliest phases: development procedures, design of facilities and infrastructure, operation of the industrial facility, and economics. Project management researchers and practitioners are working together to find effective and efficient methods and techniques to minimize the environmental impact that projects carry. Sustainable rating systems are structured decision-making tools in support of measuring environmental performance throughout the project life cycle, not only complying with government & non-government regulations, but also meeting internal and external standards, procedures, processes, and requirements. The majority, if not all, rating systems created to date focus on buildings and residential housing construction. This paper introduces the development of a rating system to measure the environmental performance of oil sands and heavy oil projects, called the WA-PA-SU project sustainability rating system. A brief history of the concept of sustainability is discussed, and correlated with the three integrated areas related to the development of a sustainable rating system for this industrial sector: oil sands and heavy oil projects, regulations, and rating systems. The paper also discusses the tools and techniques applied in the development methodology of a sustainable rating system, lists some of the expected benefits based on previous use of others ratings systems around the world, and finally concludes with an outline of future research.

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