38 Multi-Benefit Resources


Green Infrastructure Co-Benefits Valuation Tool

Author: Kasey Armstrong, Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange (2019)
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The Green Infrastructure Co-Benefits Valuation Tool is an Excel based economic valuation model. It calculates the net present value (NPV) for different green infrastructure investments. The tool is designed to introduce the potential benefits of a project, so environmental managers can get estimates before performing an exhaustive economic valuation.

Downstream Economic Benefits of Conservation Development

Author: Johnston et al., University of Illinois (2005)
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Downstream Economic Benefits of Conservation Development uses a case study in Chicago, Illinois to value the benefits of on-site stormwater storage. Johnson et al. uses simulation models to demonstrate these practices can create benefits to downstream properties. They find stormwater storage can reduce construction costs and provide significant benefits in reduced flood damage to downstream properties.

Identifying linkages between urban green infrastructure and ecosystem services using an expert opinion methodology

Author: Elliott et al., Columbia University (2019)
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Identifying linkages between urban green infrastructure and ecosystem services using an expert opinion methodology compares benefits in urban distributed stormwater infrastructure. This is commonly known as green infrastructure (GI), provides a wide variety of benefits. This study offers both a methodology for evaluating the multiple benefits of GI as well as a decision-support tool developed through interviews with 46 academic experts that helps to rank different GI strategies based on their known ability to deliver a variety of co-benefits.

Nature-Based Solutions Evidence Tool

Author: University of Oxford (2019)
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The Nature-Based Solutions Evidence Tool is primarily an online catalog of peer-reviewed research that provides evidence of the impacts of nature-based solutions (NbS) on a wide variety of benefit categories. The tool allows the user to filter results in a variety of ways, including by intervention type, habitat type, climate change impact, effect of Nbs on ecosystem service, geography, and more. Results are displayed in a variety of formats, helping the user to understand the landscape of quantitative and economic research related to a variety of NbSs.

Economic Benefits: Metics and Methods for Landscape Performance Assessment

Author: Wang et al., Utah State University (2016)
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The Economic Benefits: Metrics and Methods for Landscape Performance Assessment presents a method and standard metrics for assessing the economic benefits of landscapes. This method and the associated metrics can be used to increase the scientific rigor of landscape architecture and to help achieve high(er) levels of sustainability in the built environment. Three test cases are used to demonstrate the utility of the method.

Green Infrastructure Co-Benefits Valuation Tool

Author: Armstrong, 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.

The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply: Efficiency, Reuse, and Stormwater – Issue Brief

Author: Gleick et al., Pacific Institute, NRDC (2014)
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Increased pressures on California’s water supply, including from population growth and intense periods of drought exacerbated by climate change, are leading to the overuse of surface water and groundwater. But with existing technology and conservation methods, the state can take vital steps to improve its resilience to drought and plan for a more sustainable water future. This issue brief, produced in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, is a statewide analysis of the potential for improved efficiency in agricultural and urban water use, water reuse and recycling, and increased capturing of local rainwater.

Thermal performance of extensive green roofs in cold climates

Author: Liu & Baskaran, National Research Council Canada (2005)
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In this study, the performance of two extensive green roofs located in the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada was monitored. The green roofs varied in system components, types and depths of growing medium, vegetation coverage and types of roofing systems. The green roofs were instrumented with sensor networks to provide thermal performance data.

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.

Sustainable Landscapes in the Santa Ana River Watershed

Author: Pacific Institute (2019)
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The Sustainable Landscapes in the Santa Ana River Watershed map is an interactive tool that allows users to explore potential benefits of sustainable landscaping practices across the Santa Ana River Watershed.

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.

Impacts of Urban Water Conservation Strategies on Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Health: Southern California as a Case Study

Author: Sokolow et al., (2016)
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Impacts of Urban Water Conservation Strategies on Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Health: Southern California as a Case Study expands on a 2014 health impact assessment of California’s urban water conservation strategies to evaluate the impacts of two possible conservation approaches: banning landscape irrigation and expanding alternative water sources (e.g. recycled water). Findings show that expanding alternative water sources can have a highly positive impact on public health.

Green Infrastructure & Health Guide

Author: Oregon Health and Outdoors Initiative, Willamette Partnership, Oregon Public Health Institute (OPHI), The Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange (2018)
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Green Infrastructure & Health Guide provides the tools, resources, and evidence for the connections between green infrastructure (GI) and human health. The chapters include Health Challenges and GI Solutions, GI and Health: What is the connection?, Nature Experiences and Health: Current evidence, Shared Language, Identifying Community Health Needs, Make the Case: Business and more, Community Engagement: Why and how, GI Siting and Design: Considerations for health, Evaluating Health Benefits of GI, and Needs and Next Steps. The appendices include Detailed Community Engagement Guidelines, Sample Tree Planting Health Survey, Sample Logic Model Linking Tree Planting and Health, and Sample City Health and Outdoors Opportunities Assessments.

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.

Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture

Author: Attwater & Derry, (2017)
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Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture examines water recycling for agricultural use in the peri-urban regions of Western Sydney, Australia. The study provides a qualitative assessment of the benefits associated with agricultural water reuse of treated wastewater and drinking water in the context of the communities larger water system. The benefits identified include enhanced landscape ecology, environmental risk management, water supply reliability, agricultural products and services, reduced wastewater discharges to receiving waters, provision of ecosystem services, community livelihood, social values, and overall enhanced resilience.

Water conservation benefits of urban heat mitigation

Author: Vahmani & Jones, (2017)
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Water conservation benefits of urban heat mitigation examines urban heat mitigation strategies, such as cool roofs, and the impacts on water conservation in California. The study shows that while cool roofs provide significant cooling benefits and life cycle cost savings, they also provide other water-related benefits including decreased outdoor water use by reducing evaporation and irrigation practices. The report argues that cool roofs provide a solution for multiple sectors within California.

Green Infrastructure Opportunities and Barriers in the Greater Los Angeles Region

Author: U.S. EPA (2013)
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Green Infrastructure Opportunities and Barriers in the Greater Los Angeles Region analyzes the regulatory barriers to installing green infrastructure in Los Angeles. The types of green infrastructure projects discussed in the report include bioretention cells, bioretention strips/swales, infiltration basins/swales/trenches, planter boxes, constructed wetlands, rainwater capture, permeable pavement, and drywells. The report defines the regulatory landscape for green infrastructure in California, identifies potential for fulfilling multiple regulations and requirements through green infrastructure projects, and lastly, examines the regulatory barriers to green infrastructure implementation.

Milwaukee Green Infrastructure Scenarios Tool

Author: Climate Interactive, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (N/A)
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The Milwaukee Green Infrastructure Scenarios Tool (GIST) helps decision makers to analyze various scenarios and determine the best stormwater management solutions in Milwaukee’s Kinnickinnic River Watershed. The tool recommends the green infrastructure project (i.e., green roofs, bioretention, stormwater trees, porous pavement, etc.) that best provides stormwater management, extreme weather resilience, job generation, aesthetics, and financial savings. The tool provides outputs of system performance measures (i.e., number of overflow events annually), capital and operational costs, and the co-benefits of the project, including improved water quality, energy savings, and increased jobs and property values.

Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement

Author: U.S. EPA (2017)
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Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement analyzes green infrastructure projects in parks and the resulting benefits. The report uses case studies to discuss the multiple benefits and encourage cities to invest in green infrastructure projects within their public parks. The multiple benefits cited within the report include recreation value, attractive park features, social and environmental equity, reduced maintenance, drainage, education, water quality, economic benefits, and overall benefits to environment.

Reducing Stormwater Costs through Low Impact Development (LID) Strategies and Practices

Author: U.S. EPA (2007)
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Reducing Stormwater Costs through Low Impact Development (LID) Strategies and Practices analyzes 17 case studies of low impact development (LID) projects throughout the United States. The low impact development projects referenced include conservation designs, infiltration practices, runoff storage, runoff conveyance, filtration, and low impact landscaping. The benefits considered within the analysis include environmental benefits (i.e., pollution abatement, protection of downstream water resources, groundwater recharge, water quality improvements, reduced incidence of combined sewer overflows (CSO), habitat improvement), land value and quality of life benefits (i.e., reduced risk of downstream flooding and property damage, increased real estate values, lot yield, improved aesthetics, enhanced public space), and compliance benefits (i.e., regulatory compliance). The analysis also includes a cost comparison of low impact development projects to traditional grey infrastructure projects. The report concludes that low impact development projects significantly reduce costs and improve environmental performance.

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.

The Economic Benefits of Green Infrastructure A Case Study of Lancaster, PA

Author: U.S. EPA (2014)
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The Economic Benefits of Green Infrastructure: A Case Study of Lancaster, PA provides an economic valuation of green infrastructure in Lancaster, PA based on the Framework described in CNT’s “The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits, 2010”. The report provides data requirements and methodologies for evaluation of water-related benefits (avoided capital costs of storage needs, avoided operational costs from wastewater treatment), energy-related benefits (reduced energy use for indoor temperature control), air-quality benefits (smog reduction, including NO2, O3, SO2 and PM10), and climate change-related benefits (CO2 reduction from carbon sequestration, reductions in water and wastewater pumping and treatment, and building energy use). The report also includes a discussion on the additional qualitative benefits including reduced urban heat island effect, increased property value, reduced noise pollution, increased recreational opportunities, habitat improvement, public education, and community cohesion.

Rainwater as a Resource: A Report on Three Sites Demonstrating Sustainable Stormwater Management

Author: TreePeople (2007)
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Rainwater as a Resource: A Report on Three Sites Demonstrating Sustainable Stormwater Management (2007) presents three case studies for stormwater management: (1) single-family, parcel sized greening in South Los Angeles, CA, (2) campus greening at Hillery T. Broadous Elementary School in Pacoima, CA, and (3) campus greening at Open Charter Magnet Elementary School in Westchester, CA. The report includes costs and quantified benefits for tree benefits (tree canopy, carbon storage, carbon sequestration, energy savings), stormwater benefits (runoff reduction, avoided storage), and air pollution benefits (ozone, SO2, NO2, PM10, and CO removal). The report also includes a discussion of additional non-quantified benefits including student health and safety, green waste reuse, and green recreation space.

Public Private Partnerships and Finance of Large-Scale Green Infrastructure in the Great Lakes Basin

Author: Sinha et al., Environmental Consulting and Technology, Inc; Corvias; Encourage Capital (2017)
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Public Private Partnerships and Finance of Large-Scale Green Infrastructure in the Great Lakes Basin is a report presenting the outcome of an initiative to implement “large-scale” green infrastructure projects using private financing and/or private delivery in the Great Lakes Basin. “Large-scale” is defined as a green infrastructure project that requires an investment of at least $50 million in a particular region. The report identifies main economic and regulatory drivers for green infrastructure, as well as presents a decision tree as a tool to help communities decide if private financing is appropriate for their needs.

LA Sustainable Water Project: Los Angeles River Watershed

Author: Mika et al., UCLA Grand Challenges (2017)
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LA Sustainable Water Project: Los Angeles River Watershed provides an in-depth analysis of the potential future opportunities for water recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater recharge, and water quality improvements along the Los Angeles River. The analysis takes into account current water supply and water quality projects and management practices along the river. The report deduces that more work is needed to better understand optimal levels of stormwater capture and water recycling along the river so as to balance the impact on in-stream flows.

Stormwater Capture Master Plan

Author: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) (2015)
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Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Stormwater Capture Master Plan develops a strategy for long-term stormwater capture potential, examination of projects and programs, estimation of the value of projects with ancillary benefits, and stormwater program and policy implementations in California. Stormwater programs include on-site infiltration, green streets, subregional infiltration, on-site direct use, subregional direct use, and impervious replacement. The multiple benefits cited from increased stormwater capture include groundwater recharge, water conservation, open space alternatives, and improved downstream water quality and peak flow.

The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation

Author: Foster, Lowe, & Winkelman, 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.

Barriers and Gateways to Green Infrastructure

Author: Clean Water America Alliance (2011)
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Barriers and Gateways to Green Infrastructure identifies and explores the major barriers to implementation of green infrastructure for stormwater management. The barriers were identified through a survey of various stakeholder groups from across the United States, and included the following themes: technical and physical barriers, legal and regulatory barriers, financial barriers, and community and institutional barriers. The report also provides several recommendations to the U.S. EPA for overcoming these barriers, including creation of new stormwater regulations and permits, full accounting for economic and environmental benefits, embracing of new stormwater approaches, and increased federal funding for green infrastructure.

Green Infrastructure: Lessons from Science and Practice

Author: Driscoll et al., Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Syracuse University, Science Policy Exchange (2015)
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Green Infrastructure: Lessons from Science and Practice provides a literature review of peer-reviewed journal articles that measure and analyze flood control and water quality impacts of green infrastructure from across the United States. In addition, the literature review tabulates enabling factors and barriers to green infrastructure adoption within communities.

Carbon Sequestration Potential of Extensive Green Roofs

Author: Getter et al., (2009)
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Carbon Sequestration Potential of Extensive Green Roofs provides data from two studies on vegetated roofs in Maryland and Michigan. The studies provide quantitative results on the carbon storage potential of extensive green roofs in both plant biomass and substrate.

Systemic solutions for multi-benefit water and environmental management

Author: Everard & McInnes, (2013)
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Systemic solutions for multi-benefit water and environmental management provides an academic, theoretical critique on the evaluation of multi-benefit systems. The report comprises case studies of successful green infrastructure projects, including constructed wetlands, urban ecosystem technologies, agricultural washlands, and integrated constructed wetlands.

The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits

Author: Center for Neighborhood Technology, American Rivers (2010)
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The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits is an in-depth framework for evaluating the multiple benefits of green infrastructure projects, including green roofs, tree planting, bioretention and infiltration, permeable pavement, and water harvesting. The framework provides methodologies for valuation of water, energy, air quality, and climate change-related benefits, as well as a qualitative discussion on community livability and public education benefits.

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.

Putting Green to Work: Economic Recovery Investments for Clean and Reliable Water

Author: American Rivers (2010)
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Putting Green to Work: Economic Recovery Investments for Clean and Reliable Water categorizes “green” and “bright green” projects that provide multiple environmental and economic benefits, including improved water quality and quantity, reduced runoff and flooding, groundwater recharge, improved habitats, reduced energy use, and overall water supply reliability. The report focuses primarily on green infrastructure and demand management projects, as well as leveraging natural capital for water management, including examples from specific states and cities with a focus on funding projects. The report provides a qualitative discussion of the multiple benefits.

Banking on Green: A Look at How Green Infrastructure Can Save Municipalities Money and Provide Economic Benefits Community-wide

Author: American Rivers, the Water Environment Federation, the American Society of Landscape Architects, ECONorthwest (2012)
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Banking on Green provides a business case for green infrastructure practices in the United States. Benefits cited within the report include reduced stormwater runoff, reduced energy costs, reduced impacts of flooding, improvements in public health, and reduced infrastructure costs. Within the report, it is argued that green infrastructure can blend seamlessly with traditional grey infrastructure, and make communities more resilient in the face of extreme events and climate change. The report provides case studies of successful green infrastructure projects across the United States, and a qualitative discussion on the multiple benefits.

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.

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.”

Proposition 1 Stormwater Grant Program Guidelines

Author: California State Resources Water Quality Control Board (2015)
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Proposition 1 Stormwater Grant Program Guidelines, related to the Stormwater Grant Program (SWGP), establishes the process and criteria by which Proposition 1 funds are awarded in the state of California. The guidelines seek to encourage public agencies to develop multi-benefit stormwater management plans, as specified in the Stormwater Resource Planning Act (SB 985), that reframe stormwater projects, including dry-weather runoff as a water supply resource.