25 Multi-Benefit Resources


A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Seminatural Wetlands and Activated Sludge Wastewater-Treatment Systems

Author: Mannino et al., (2008)
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A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Seminatural Wetlands and Activated Sludge Wastewater-Treatment Systems compares cost efficiency of wastewater treatment capacity for three constructed wetlands and three wastewater treatment plants. Considering only the wastewater treatment, and no other costs and benefits, the authors find constructed treatment wetlands are competitive with traditional wastewater treatment facilities.

Dialogue on Diversity: Broadening the voices in urban and community forestry

Author: McDonough et al., US Forest Service (2003)
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Dialogue on Diversity: Broadening the Voices in Urban and Community Forestry reports the results of a national attempt to increase diversity in urban forestry efforts. This US Forestry project piloted a method of expanding urban forestry engagement by holding workshops across 11 different sites. This report showed that with enough effort, successful workshops can be held that identify new benefits for urban forestry.

Participatory development and the sustainable city: community forestry in Detroit

Author: Vachta & McDonough, The Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg (2002)
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Participatory Development and the Sustainable City: Community Forestry in Detroit is a chapter in a book discussing sustainable city management. This chapter focuses on including equitable stakeholder engagement in these decisions by examining environmental investment in Detroit. After Detroit experienced a loss of about 1/5 of its city, green infrastructure projects were designed and implemented to fill the open areas. A series of projects were chosen by the communities, with public involvement. While implementation continued, a series of interviews were conducted to ensure the project was meeting community expectations.

Planning for inclusive urban ecological restoration

Author: Newman, Earthsake (2014)
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Planning for inclusive urban ecological restoration highlights some of the myths conservation managers might have about minority participation. It highlights how barriers such as only relying on volunteers and inaccessible comment periods make it challenging for diverse groups of people to participate even if they have interest in the project. The report claims conservation has a particular cultural perspective and may have different priorities than other cultural perspectives.

From brown to green? Assessing social vulnerability to environmental gentrification in New York City

Author: Hamil Pearsall, Clark University (2010)
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From brown to green? Assessing social vulnerability to environmental gentrification in New York City uses multiple linear regression to examine which factors determine if environmental improvements lead to gentrification. The report finds populations with low or fixed income such as seniors, people with disabilities, and people dependent on federal assistance can be significantly impacted by environmental gentrification. Areas that were redeveloped adjacent to other desirable amenities such as waterfront access, and easy public transit access experienced higher ecological gentrification.

Just green enough: contesting environmental gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Author: Curran & Hamilton, DePaul University (2012)
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Just green enough: contesting environmental gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn is a case study showing the benefits of partnerships between developers, environmentalists, and community members. While development can lead to displacement, there is a space for strategic development that does not negatively alter the neighborhood. Focusing on people’s health instead of aesthetics can protect the character of the neighborhood.

An Equitable Water Future

Author: US Water Alliance (2017)
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An Equitable Water Future highlights the main challenges and main solutions in water equity in the United States. There are 1.4 million Americans without access to modern plumbing. Affordability can also contribute to water inequity, the bottom 20% can pay 1/5 of their income on water bills. Communities might have disproportionate impacts from historical water quality threats such as nuclear testing or lead pipes. Examples of projects and organizations that are addressing these equity issues are provided. Equity and climate resilience are also discussed.

Drinking Water and Wastewater Utility Customer Assistance Programs

Author: EPA (2016)
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Drinking Water and Wastewater Utility Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs) is a synopsis of utilities across the nation performing customer assistance programs. Bill discount, flexible terms, and temporary assistance are common programs. The report details specific examples of each of these CAPs and examines issues with the scope and targeting of CAPs.

Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’

Author: Wolch et al., UC Berkeley (2014)
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Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’ is a review paper evaluating the global relationship between environmental improvements and inequity. The article concludes green space development’s impact on disenfranchised groups hinges on the goals of the development. Greening that is designed to increase the value of the neighborhood can be problematic, but greening that is “just enough” can accomplish significant health improvements without displacing people.

Wiped Out by the ‘Greenwave’: Environmental Gentrification and the Paradoxical Politics of Urban Sustainability

Author: Checker, Queens College CUNY (2011)
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Wiped Out by the ‘Greenwave’: Environmental Gentrification and the Paradoxical Politics of Urban Sustainability examines how profit driven environmental improvements could exacerbate inequities through ethnography in Harlem, New York. Environmental gentrification can be an issue when pursuing green infrastructure (GI) projects. The author suggests making any changes in land use sensitive to cultural activities and historical context.

Inclusive Urban Ecological Restoration in Toronto, Canada

Author: Newman, Center for Resource Economics (2011)
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Inclusive Urban Ecological Restoration in Toronto, Canada explores the ways improving diversity in park management could benefit Toronto communities. Involving more racial groups in projects has many unrecognized benefits. For example, it can help undo racial stereotypes that parks and natural spaces are only for white people. It can also make people who live in these communities more visible. Communities can also be empowered by being included in ecological projects. By involving minority groups from the beginning of a project, the project is more sustainable in the long term.

Green Cities: Good Health

Author: University of Washington, U.S. Forest Service, and Urban and Community Forestry (N/A)
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Green Cities: Good Health is an online compilation and synthesis of research related to urban green spaces and human health and well-being. The website includes introductory material, summaries of current research into the numerous benefits of urban green space, future research, and a comprehensive list of references.

The Blueprint for Increased Investment in Green Infrastructure

Author: Earth Economics (2018)
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The Blueprint for Increased Investment in Green Infrastructure is a comprehensive resource for water managers and other decision makers seeking to start or expand investment in green infrastructure. The Blueprint presents five major cultural and institutional shifts that are required at the municipal level for the grown in green infrastructure. Data, tools, tips, and other resources are also provided.

On Spatially Distributed Hydrologic Ecosystem Services: Bridging the Quantitative Information Gap Using Remote Sensing and Hydrological Models

Author: Simons et al., (2017)
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The white paper, On Spatially Distributed Hydrologic Ecosystem Services, provides an explanation of and use case examples for a hydrologic ecosystem services model. This is a useful resource for quantification of water-related ecosystem services.The model is spatially and temporally designed for basin-scale analyses.

The Green Edge: How Commercial Property Investment in Green Infrastructure Creates Value

Author: Clements & St. Juliana, NRDC (2013)
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This report explores the range of economic benefits that accrue to commercial property owners (including owners of multifamily residential buildings) when they install green infrastructure on their property to improve stormwater management.

Relevance and Benefits of Urban Water Reuse in Tourist Areas

Author: Lazarova, Sturny, & Sang, (2012)
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Relevance and Benefits of Urban Water Reuse in Tourist Areas presents a case study on factors that influenced the implementation of water reuse on the island of Bora Bora, French Polynesia. The study addresses the regulatory and technical challenges to implementation of water reuse systems, as well as provides methods for overcoming these challenges through the Bora Bora case study. The report emphasizes the need for reliability in treatment operations, feasible prices and operation costs, and effective utilization of the co-benefits of water reuse projects.

An Analysis of the Energy Intensity of Water in California: Providing a Basis for Quantification of Energy Savings from Water System Improvements

Author: Wilkinson et al., (2006)
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An Analysis of the Energy Intensity of Water in California: Providing a Basis for Quantification of Energy Savings from Water System Improvements analyzes water-related energy use in California. The report examines energy inputs to water systems for: 1) primary water extraction, conveyance, and storage, 2) treatment and distribution within service areas, 3) on-site water pumping, treatment, and thermal inputs, and 4) wastewater collection, treatment, and discharge. The report concludes that “with better information regarding the energy implications of water use, public policy and combined investment and management strategies between energy, water, and wastewater agencies and utilities can be improved.” The benefits cited for these energy savings include avoided capital and operating costs, reduced burden on rate-payers, improved distribution of capital, and environmental benefits.

CUWCC Direct Utility Avoided Cost Model and Environmental Benefits Model Download Page

Author: Alliance for Water Efficiency (2007)
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The CUWCC Direct Utility Avoided Cost Model and Environmental Benefits Model is a tool developed by the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC) in order to improve water use efficiency. The model uses the avoided cost economic valuation method in order to estimate the potential savings of water use efficiency improvements. The resource provides a downloadable version of the valuation tool, the methodology, and examples of the tool being utilized.

The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years

Author: Sustainable Business Network (SBN), Green Stormwater Infrastructure Partners, Econsult Solutions (2016)
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The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years evaluates the economic impact of the Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW) plan in Philadelphia, PA. The Green City, Clean Waters was an initiative of the Philadelphia Water Department to implement more green infrastructure in the city of Philadelphia. The initiative resulted in a multitude of benefits, including boosts in the local economy, increased jobs, improved equity, revived habitats, and overall enhanced aesthetics.

City Resilience Framework

Author: The Rockefeller Foundation, Arup International Development (2015)
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City Resilience Framework provides a framework for analyzing the sustainability of a city. The framework identifies seven qualities of resilient cities (reflective, robust, redundant, flexible, resourceful, inclusive, and integrated) as well as four dimensions of resilient cities: health & wellbeing; economy & society; infrastructure & environment; and leadership & strategy. The report applies the City Resilience Framework to six cities across the globe, where the resiliency of each city was qualitatively analyzed following the four resiliency dimensions.

Recognizing the Value of Energy Efficiency’s Multiple Benefits

Author: Russell et al., (2015)
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Recognizing the Value of Energy Efficiency’s Multiple Benefits emphasizes the multiple benefits of improved energy efficiency for the residential, business, and utility sectors. The multiple benefits identified within this report include comfort, health, financial, and risk-abatement. The report argues that these multiple benefits can exceed utility bill savings, and therefore should be included into management decisions, policy decisions, and efficiency programs.

Making the Utility Case for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems

Author: National Blue Ribbon Commission for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems (US Water Alliance, Water Research Foundation) (2018)
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Making the Utility Case for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems is a report that 1) defines the scope of onsite non-potable water systems, 2) highlights how utilities are using onsite non-potable water systems to meet One Water goals, 3) presents key considerations for implementing onsite non-potable water systems, and 4) outlines the role of utility leadership in implementing onsite non-potable water systems. The report also includes case studies from throughout the U.S. that illustrate the multiple benefits produced from onsite non-potable water systems, including system resilience, diversification of water supplies, stormwater management and pollution reduction, compliance with policy and regulatory requirements, reducing capital costs, enhancing environmental and community facilities, providing opportunities for public-private partnerships, and technology advancement.

Policy settings, regulatory frameworks and recycled water schemes

Author: Institute for Sustainable Futures (2013)
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Policy settings, regulatory frameworks and recycled water schemes analyzes eight water recycling case studies conducted internationally to illustrate how the associated project investment decisions are influenced by regulations and legal frameworks. The main focus areas are environmental protection of receiving waters, water security, developer charges, and recycled water scheme regulation to protect public health. Within each of these areas, various co-benefits are discussed.

Living Streets Economic Feasibility Project: Final Report

Author: Abdullah & Blyth, Heal the Bay, Climate Resolve, GreenLA Coalition (2016)
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Living Streets Economic Feasibility Report presents an alternate, new paradigm to guide the future of street and sidewalk infrastructure design and creation for Los Angeles. The term they use for this new paradigm is “Living Streets”, and it incorporates green infrastructure and stormwater capture within street design to improve air quality, water quantity and quality, flooding, human health, and aesthetics within urban regions. The report presents the costs and benefits of Living Streets, and compares them to the costs and benefits of continuing with business as usual, as well as against what they call “Green Streets,” “Cool Streets,” and “Complete Streets.”

Life-cycle cost-benefit analysis of extensive vegetated roof systems

Author: Carter & Keeler, (2008)
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Life-cycle cost-benefit analysis of extensive vegetated roof systems assesses the benefits and costs of green roofs from a pilot study in Athens, Georgia, including private and social benefits. The public benefits identified were avoided best management practice costs, energy savings, and air quality, and the private benefits identified were stormwater utility fee credits, building energy savings, and air quality. The costs identified in the study included lifetime construction and maintenance. The study revealed that green roofs were 10-14% more expensive than conventional counterparts, and therefore, recommended that a broader range of positive social benefits be included in the analysis in order to outweigh the higher construction costs and encourage the construction of green roofs.