33 Multi-Benefit Resources


Landscape Performance Series

Author: Landscape Architecture Foundation (N/A)
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The Landscape Performance Series is a compilation of case studies, fact sheets, and a Benefits Toolkit, to support sustainable landscape design. It is available for designers, agencies, and advocates to help evaluate performance, show value, and make the case for landscapes.

Landscape Performance Series: Benefits Toolkit

Author: Landscape Architecture Foundation (N/A)
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The Benefits Toolkit, housed in the Landscape Performance Series, lists calculators and tools that directly help with quantifying the benefits of landscapes. Users can filter results by “Landscape Performance Benefit” including several options for water-related benefits.

Green Infrastructure Co-Benefits Valuation Tool

Author: Earth Economics, GI Exchange (2019)
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The Green Infrastructure Co-benefits Valuation Tool is intended to provide a framework, methods, and values to support rapid screening-level analysis of the costs and benefits associated with a range of GI investments. The tool itself is based in Microsoft Excel and comes with a users guide and fact sheet.

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.

Climate Change: Opportunities to Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposure

Author: U.S. Government Accountability Office (2019)
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The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released an analysis of the economic costs and benefits of climate change to U.S. sectors and regions. This report focuses on the fiscal exposure faced by the U.S. federal government to climate change risks.

Water LA

Author: The River Project (2018)
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The 2018 Water LA report by the River Project explores the opportunities for and challenges of building a resilient region by making small, distributed changes to the urban landscape. The report offers a case study from LA where parcel-scale water management projects provide different social, environmental, and economic benefits.

Moving Toward a Multiple Benefits Approach for Water Management

Author: (2019)
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The Pacific Institute’s report, Moving Toward a Multiple Benefits Approach for Water Management, proposes a framework for systematically identifying and incorporating the multiple benefits and trade-offs of water management strategies into decision-making processes. The framework can help users broaden support for a policy or project; identify opportunities to share costs among project beneficiaries; minimize adverse and unintended consequences; optimize the investment of time, money, and other resources; and increase transparency associated with water management decisions.

NatCap Checker

Author: Natural Capital Coalition (2019)
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The NatCap Checker is a tool by the Natural Capital Coalition, created to help organizations make more informed decisions that help conserve and enhance the natural capital that we all depend upon. It is a self-assessment tool that enables practitioners to assess, communicate, and improve the level of confidence in their natural capital assessments.

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.

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

Author: 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.

Healthy Lands and Healthy Economies: The multiple benefits of Sonoma County working and natural lands

Author: Sonoma County Ag + Open Space (2018)
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Sonoma County Ag + Open Space presents the results of a thorough economic assessment of the county’s agricultural and natural lands, incorporating the multiple benefits of these landscapes.

Determining the Economic Value of Water: Concepts and Methods

Author: (2014)
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Determining the Economic Value of Water: Concepts and Methods provides a comprehensive summary of economic valuation techniques used for water management strategies. The book includes a framework for economic valuation of the primary and secondary benefits of water investments, including improved water quality, enhanced fish habitats, and recreation benefits. Non-market valuation techniques are discussed for the valuation of difficult to quantify public benefits. The book also includes an analysis of the various valuation techniques, examining specific applications, limitations, and advantages of each technique.

System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Experimental Ecosystem Accounting

Author: United Nations, European Union, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Bank Group (2014)
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System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Experimental Ecosystem Accounting is an addition to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Central Framework. Where the Central Framework approaches data collection from an economic perspective, the Experimental Ecosystem Accounting framework approaches data collection from an environmental perspective and analyzes its interactions with the economy. The Central Framework and Experimental Ecosystem Accounting frameworks can be used in conjunction to provide a comprehensive description of the interactions between the environment, economy, and human activity.

System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Central Framework

Author: United Nations, European Union, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), The World Bank (2014)
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System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Central Framework is a qualitative and comprehensive framework that aids in the organization of environmental and economic data from across the globe. The goal of the framework is to provide a consistent and comprehensive database that will allow for the analysis of natural resource contribution to the economy, and vice versa, the economies impacts on natural resources. The framework approaches data collection from an economic perspective, including information for natural inputs, environmental assets, and residual flows; the complementary document, System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Experimental Ecosystem Accounting, approaches data collection from an environmental perspective. The database can be used to inform management decisions, policy, and research, as well as track progress towards global sustainability goals.

SEEA-Water System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water

Author: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division (2012)
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SEEA-Water System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water is a qualitative and comprehensive framework that aids in the organization of hydrologic and economic information. The goal of the framework is to obtain consistent and comprehensive data collection that will allow for the analysis of natural resource contribution to the economy, and vice versa, the economies impacts on natural resources. The database can be used to inform management decisions, policy, and research in order to protect valuable natural capital globally.

System of National Accounts 2008

Author: European Commission, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations, The World Bank (2008)
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System of National Accounts 2008 is a qualitative and comprehensive framework that aids in the organization of economic data from across the globe. The goal of the framework is to provide a consistent and comprehensive economic database that can inform management decisions, policy, and research. The System of National Accounts is created for all countries and therefore accounts for all demographics and stages of economic development. The system also includes a methodology for environmental accounting that focuses on the utilization of natural resources and the pollution of natural resources.

Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Urban Water Conservation: Final Report

Author: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, California Urban Watershed Council (2006)
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Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Urban Water Conservation Final Report presents a method for valuing the environmental benefits of water conservation and efficiency. Water savings of a particular water conservation strategy are represented by the reduction in water demand, as well as the resulting co-benefits, including enhanced fish habitats, increased recreational opportunities, and improved water quality as a result of wetland filtration. The report provides a methodology for monetizing these environmental benefits so as to provide utilities with a method for comparing the benefits and costs of various best management practices.

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.

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.

California Beach Restoration Study Chapter 3: The Benefits of California’s Beaches

Author: California State Parks, Division of Boating and Wildlife (2002)
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California Beach Restoration Study Chapter 3: The Benefits of California’s Beaches is a chapter of a larger report on beach restoration in California. The chapter is divided into five sections, including discussions on 1) how beaches fulfill recreational needs within California, 2) the fiscal impact of beaches in California, 3) the value of beach restoration projects to recreation, 4) a San Diego case study on beach overcrowding, and 5) the public safety and environmental benefits of beaches. This particular chapter focuses on the economic value of beaches and their restoration.

Case Study Fluvial and ecosystem restoration of the Arga-Aragón Rivers systems by combining measures

Author: Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) (2013)
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Case Study: Fluvial and ecosystem restoration of the Arga-Aragon Rivers systems by combining measures details the process and implementation of watershed restoration along the Arga-Aragon Rivers systems with the goal of reducing flood impacts and restoring habitat functions. The report provides measures involving wetlands, floodplains, re-meandering, riverbeds, revitalization of flowing water, natural bank stabilization, elimination of riverbank protection, and riparian buffers. The costs of the project, including the amount of money required to reimburse farmers for lost land are included.

Recognizing the Value of Energy Efficiency’s Multiple Benefits

Author: (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.

Green Infrastructure Guide for Water Management

Author: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP-DHI Partnership, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute (2014)
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Green Infrastructure: Guide for Water Management examines case studies of green infrastructure projects throughout the United States. The report argues that a lack of awareness of the solutions and additional cost benefits that green infrastructure projects can provide is the major barrier to implementation of green infrastructure solutions. The case studies include green infrastructure projects such as green roofs, permeable pavement, levee setbacks, wetland conservation and construction, reforestation and afforestation, and flood bypasses and coastal protection. The case studies cite benefits from the ecosystem service categories (i.e., provisioning services, regulating services, cultural services, habitat or supporting services), providing a qualitative discussion of primary benefits and co-benefits for each case study.

Assessing the Return on Investment in Watershed Conservation: Best Practices Approach and Case Study for the Rio Camboriú PWS Program, Santa Catarina, Brazil

Author: The Nature Conservancy (2017)
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Assessing the Return on Investment in Watershed Conservation applies a return on investment (ROI) framework to a watershed conservation project in Santa Catarina, Brazil. The framework involves quantification of the relationships between 1) intervention, 2) ecosystem structure, 3) ecosystem function, 4) ecosystem service, 5) benefit, and 6) values and program cost. The report illustrates that restoring source watersheds is a cost-effective way to reduce drinking water treatment costs, improve water supply resilience, and protect biodiversity. The ecosystem services quantified in the study include sediment concentrations at water treatment intake, which when reduced can lead to avoided peak season water loss, avoided use of chemicals, avoided dry sludge landfilling, and avoided pumping. The report also includes costs for landowner engagement and interventions, as well as land rentals.

The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation

Author: Center for Clean Air Policy (2011)
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The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation provides a methodology for calculating the costs and benefits of green infrastructure, with particular focus on urban climate adaptation. Benefits of green infrastructure include land value, quality of life, public health, hazard mitigation, and regulatory compliance. In the report, economic analyses are provided for “Eco-Roofs,” Green Alleys and Streets, and Urban Forestry with several case study examples provided.

Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analysis for Water Recycling Projects

Author: University of California Davis Center for Watershed Sciences (2011)
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Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analysis for Water Recycling Projects provides an in-depth methodology for economic analysis of water recycling projects, including all benefits and costs “to whomsoever they accrue” at the completion of the project. The methodology includes benefits that directly affect the proposing agency, individuals, households, or businesses, such as water supply, water supply reliability, and local control, as well as the indirect benefits, such as environmental changes (i.e., streamflow, reducing groundwater pumping), recreation, nutrient loading, and effect on soil and groundwater.

The Economics of Low-Impact Development: A Literature Review

Author: ECONorthwest (2007)
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The Economics of Low-Impact Development: A Literature Review provides a review of economic valuations of low-impact development projects. The multiple benefits of low-impact development cited within the report include reduced flooding, improved water quality, increased groundwater recharge, reduced public expenditures on stormwater infrastructure, reduced energy use, improved air quality, and enhanced aesthetics and property values. The report provides guidance and literature discussion on methodologies for calculating the costs and benefits of low-impact development projects.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Economics in the Boise Urban Area

Author: (2015)
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Green Stormwater Infrastructure Economics in the Boise Urban Area (2015) examines the economics of green versus grey infrastructure in Boise, Idaho. Infrastructure projects analyzed include bioretention, trees with suspended pavement systems, permeable pavement, bioswales, conventional trees without suspended pavement systems, and conventional paved alleyways. Biophysical services and social benefits are compared to the alternative (i.e., status quo) option to determine the differences in services. The biophysical services identified include waste absorption/pollutant reduction, groundwater recharge, carbon sequestration, temperature reduction, and biodiversity/habitat provision. The social benefits identified include clean drinking water, water supply, clean air, aesthetics and recreation, pedestrian and vehicle safety, heat island effect, education and community engagement, and compliance credits.

Using economic valuation techniques to inform water resources management: A survey and critical appraisal of available techniques and an application

Author: (2006)
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Using economic valuation techniques to inform water resources management presents a non-technical introduction to the economic valuation techniques of changes in the quantity and quality of environmental resources, with a specific focus on water. This report includes dozens of relevant articles that provide cost and benefit estimates of various aspects of water resources (e.g. environmental services). It also provides a case study applying the economic valuation techniques to the Cheimaditida wetland in Greece.

Living Streets Economic Feasibility Project: Final Report

Author: 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.”

The Economic Benefits of Multipurpose Reservoirs in the United States-Federal Hydropower Fleet

Author: Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2015)
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The Economic Benefits of Multipurpose Reservoirs in the United States-Federal Hydropower Fleet estimates the economic benefits of multipurpose hydropower reservoirs with a focus on the Tennessee Valley Authority, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the US Bureau of Reclamation. The multipurposes are divided into six categories of federal uses: hydropower, flood control, navigation, recreation, water supply, and irrigation. The report provides the calculated percent of total benefits accrued within each category, with results showing that recreation possessed the largest overall benefit as defined by visitor days and daily spending.

Water Storage Investment Program Technical Reference

Author: California Water Commission (2016)
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Water Storage Investment Program Technical Reference details the methodology for quantifying the co-benefits or adverse impacts of water storage projects under California’s Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP). The report outlines methods for quantification of various co-benefits and adverse impacts, providing guidance on defining future site conditions, calculating physical changes, monetizing project benefits and costs, comparing benefits and costs, properly allocating costs to beneficiaries, determining cost-effectiveness and public-benefit ratio, and evaluating sources of uncertainty. Projects that quantify public benefits following these methodologies are eligible for California state bond funding to pay for the public benefits.

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

Author: (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.