New guide helps municipalities monetize the value of green infrastructure

March 2011, Vol. 66 No. 3

Quantifying the economic value of green infrastructure's benefits is the key to helping municipalities adopt this innovative and cost-effective stormwater management approach, according to a new report by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and American Rivers.

The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits is a broad analysis that is the first to place an economic value on the numerous benefits provided by green infrastructure.

The guide fills an information gap that has hampered widespread deployment of green infrastructure—the practice of managing stormwater with natural systems. The Value of Green Infrastructure brings together current research on green infrastructure performance and presents methods for calculating related benefits in water management, energy, air quality, climate and community livability.

Green infrastructure is a network of decentralized stormwater management practices—such as green roofs, trees, rain gardens and permeable pavement—that can capture and infiltrate rain where it falls, reducing stormwater runoff and improving the health of surrounding waterways. The practices provide multiple environmental, economic and social benefits, including, but not limited.

"This guide helps quantify the multiple energy, economic and environmental dividends we're seeing in Portland with our own sustainable stormwater efforts," said Mike Rosen, Watershed Division Manager of Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services. "Every planner, stormwater manager or developer who's deciding how to invest their water infrastructure dollars for the next 20 years should read this informative, thought-provoking handbook."