Banking on Green: A Look at How Green Infrastructure Can Save Municipalities Money and Provide Economic Benefits Community-wide
Green infrastructure has the potential to not only provide environmental and social benefits, but also economic benefits when addressed at a community- wide scale. As mentioned in the executive summary, this report focuses on the economic impacts caused by polluted urban runoff, also knows as "stormwater," a significantly growing source of water pollution in the United States. It is not intended to be an academic or technical document, but instead to be an "easy to read" compendium of current experiences, analysis and knowledge. The goal is to provide something useful for municipal and utility officials, local, state and national elected representatives, and the general public. As stormwater professionals and researchers gather more information about the performance of green infrastructure, and refine the techniqiues that fall in this category of stormwater management, it's important to translate their findings into useful information for policy makers and others. Information about the economics of green infrastructure and about stormwater more broadly is critical to our ongoing conversations about the shape of our communities and the infrastructure they depend on.
The impacts of stormwater pollution and the need to provide stormwater prevention, management, and treatment all create costs for communities and their residents. These costs can often be offset or reduced by making different choices about how we build communities and infrastructure. By incorporating “green infrastructure” practices in efforts to control stormwater runoff, communities and property developers can reduce energy costs, diminish the impacts of flooding, improve public health, and reduce overall infrastructure costs. In addition, these practices, which rely on natural processes like evaporation, infiltration, and plant transpiration, can effectively and affordably complement traditional “grey” infrastructure, giving stormwater managers the ability to create integrated solutions to better serve their communities. Shifting to this new paradigm also creates more sustainable communities that are better able to meet future challenges, especially in the face of a changing climate.
This report was written through a joint effort by American Rivers, the Water Environment Federation, the American Society of Landscape Architects and ECONorthwest. It begins with an introduction to stormwater problems and solutions for communities and then details how green infrastructure approaches offer cost-effective, energy efficient solutions that reduce flooding and damage costs, and protect environmental and public health in communities.
The system of land, natural resources, and natural habitats that collectively comprise a community's underlying ecosystem. Green Infrastructure is present in every city, although its size, diversity, and strength vary greatly. Importantly, green infrastructure can be used to help offset negative environmental impacts, for example stormwater runoff and urban heat island effect.The ability or potential of a physical body to do work. The most common forms of energy are heat, light, mechanical (moving parts), and electrical.