How to Advance Your Bottom Line with Green Infrastructure

02/25/2014 |

Sustainable sites offer sizable benefits

Financial estimates are based on the DOE’s commercial benchmark specifications and existing studies.
Credit: NATIONAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL

The pluses of greening your infrastructure don’t stop at stormwater solutions and aesthetic benefits.

A report by the National Resources Defense Council, The Green Edge, examines the benefits of investing in green infrastructure such as vegetative roofs, rain gardens, and permeable pavement. These include quick improvements such as lower water and energy bills, as well as longer-term benefits like increased rents, higher property values, and a reduction in crime.

“The cumulative value of these benefits can total in the millions of dollars over a long-term (40-year) planning horizon – far exceeding the potential stormwater utility fee savings and dramatically accelerating the expected payback of green infrastructure investments on commercial properties,” the report reads.

Using Philadelphia rates and fee structures as a benchmark, the researchers modeled the potential savings for multiple building types, including retail, multifamily apartments, and office buildings (such as the model Philadelphia structure profiled at right and below). Previous research incorporated into the report reveals simple ideas with considerable savings potential.

For example, Forest Service models for the Midwest show that one large tree can generate nearly $45 in savings annually.

Learn more about savings and see how the financial benefits are quantified at www.nrdc.org.

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