Business

biznatureAll over the world environmentally and socially responsible businesses focus on sustainability. But Green Infrastructure does not merely benefit nature. Numerous studies prove that green areas increase workers’ efficiency, health, fitness, general well-being and job satisfaction at the same time benefitting the employer. Green is a great “brand” to boost your business’s image, a fact widely recognised by numerous corporations such as Google who invest in Green Infrastructure. Above all, green solutions help cut costs – 1 healthy tree can have the effect of 10 air-conditioners while green roofs reduce the costs of heating and cooling office buildings by up to 10%.

Cases

Click on the titles to learn more about each case

Nestlé for Biodiversity Protection

nestle

Photo: Nestlé in society

Location: France

Area covered: 10,000 hectares

Background: In 1992, Nestlé established the agricultural advisory firm Agrivair to preserve the quality of the 3 springs (Vittel, Contrex, Hépar) in the Vosges water basin.

Project Description:  Besides giving guidelines on environmental farming techniques the Agrivair initiative provides financial, research and technological assistance to local farmers in order to stop them from using artificial fertilization and pesticides, to implement crop rotation and to compost all animal waste.

Community, economic and environmental benefits: creating employment all the while protecting water resources and promoting sustainable agriculture. Through the partnerships with local stakeholders the project has helped to preserve quality of water resources in the region.

Future plans: reshape the river so it flows more slowly to enhance biodiversity near to the riverbanks.

Links:
http://www.nestle.com/csv/case-studies/AllCaseStudies/watershed-biodiversity
http://storage.nestle.com/Interactive_CSV_2012/files/assets/seo/page41.html

Green Office Building Features

Auburn Research Park

Photo Courtesy of Auburn University

Location: Auburn Research Park, Alabama, United States

Project Description: Rain garden, bioswale, downspout removal, porous pavers, and curb cuts.

Estimated Cost: $100,000-$500,000

Source: state funding

Cost impact: Significantly reduced costs (10% or greater savings)

Jobs Created: 50

Job hours devoted to project: Planning and Design: 80, Construction: 20, Annual Maintenance: 6

Contact: Chuck Kelly (architect), email: chuck@nullkelly-la.com

Links:

Restaurant in a Wetland

Lake Martin

Photo Courtesy of Sinclairs Restaurant

Location: Lake Martin, Alabama, United States

Project Overview: Sinclairs is a waterside restaurant on a peninsula projecting into Lake Martin. Business growth required expanding and paving the parking areas, which were adjacent to the shoreline. Two bioretention areas were created in very limited space to capture the pavement runoff, filter it and slowly release it into the lake. The bioretention areas were constructed to also function as wetlands with a range of typical native wetland vegetation. The bioretention areas are highly visible to the restaurant’s clientele and therefore serve a public education function as well.

Design features: Bioretention facility and bioswale. The facility was also constructed to function as a wetland with native vegetation

Estimated Cost of Stormwater Project: $10,000-$50,000

Funding: Private investment

Constructing the bioretention areas was significantly more expensive than simply allowing sheet flow into the lake from the parking areas. On the other hand, preserving an existing stand of trees rather than paving the entire area lessened paving costs and the need for mitigation. On balance, costs were slightly reduced.

Savings: Slightly reduced costs (1-9% savings).

Job hours devoted to project: Planning and Design: 20 hours; Construction: 32 hours; Annual Maintenance: approx. 30 hours

Results: The highly visible location of the bioretention basins has attracted favorable public notice and has complemented and enhanced the shoreline location of the restaurant. It has also served as a model water quality management technique for subsequent developments on the lake and a tangible demonstration of the importance of maintaining water quality in the lake.

Contacts: Lawrence L. Bates, ASLA (architect), lbates@nullrusselllands.com

Link: http://www.asla.org/uploadedFiles/CMS/Advocacy/Federal_Government_Affairs/Stormwater_Case_Studies/Stormwater%20Case%20073%20Sinclairs%20Restaurant%20Renovation,%20Lake%20Martin,%20AL.pdf

Green Building Surroundings

Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia

Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia

Location: University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States

Project Description: Transform large area of surface parking lots into a green corridor to tie together Music, Museum, Art, and Performance Hall facilities;Reduce runoff volume and improve water quality discharging to Lilly Branch and the Oconee River; Expose storm water best management practices by decorative use of runnels, bioretention gardens, and swales; Collect and reuse storm water by installing cisterns which charge irrigation; Restore native habitat by reforesting large areas of the floodplain and piedmont forest; Total site transformed from surface lots to green space = 8.5 acres.

Design Features: Bioretention facility, rain garden, bioswale, green roof, cistern, exposed runnels, native landscape restoration, canopy restoration, and major impervious surface reduction.

Estimated Cost: $500,000-$1,000,000

Source: State funding

$50,000 for Green Roof, $80,000 for Art School Cistern, $672,000 landscape / irrigation (tied to cisterns) / bioretention / piping / labor

Jobs Created: 40

Job hours devoted to project: Planning and Design: 150; Construction: 11 months; weekly maintenance

Community & economic benefits that have resulted from the project: Retention of 35,000 gallons at Art School cistern, retention of 60,000 gallons at Museum cistern retain, and cleanse first flush (1.2″ rainfall) as required by county ordinance. Restoration of 8.5 acres of former surface parking into green corridor of connected quads and forested spaces. Enhanced environment for students / staff of performing arts corridor. Improved water quality into the Oconee River.  Provided chances for students/staff/visitors to engage Lilly Branch and the native floodplain ecosystem. Chances for students to learn about and experience green infrastructure.

Contact: Ben Liverman / Kevin Kirsche / Alfie Vick, ASLA (architects), emails: bliver@nulluga.edu,ravick@nulluga.edu

Links:

Ecoroof Incentives

Author: TonyTheTiger

Author: TonyTheTiger

Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

Population served:550,000

Project Description: An analysis of ecoroofs versus conventional roofs in Portland demonstrated sufficient public benefits to help justify the adoption of an incentive program to encourage private construction and continue a policy of requiring ecoroofs on city-owned construction projects. Portland’s ecoroof program began in 2001. As of 2008, eight city buildings had ecoroofs totaling 30,000 square feet, and there were more than 1 million square feet of ecoroofs and roof gardens within the City of Portland.

Benefits to building owners were found to be significant, but they do not accrue until sometime after year 20. By year 40 the city estimated that the owner of a building with an ecoroof would save a total of $400,000. Given that this longer-term payback may not be sufficient incentive for developers to build green roofs, the city has provided incentives to help offset the initial higher costs of ecoroofs. The extended life of ecoroofs as compared to conventional roofs also helps make the economic case for ecoroof construction.

A wide array of benefits was identified, and some were quantified and/or monetized. Even though all of the ecological benefits were not monetized, the analysis shows economic benefits accrue from ecoroof implementation.

Other communities can use this analysis to assess the benefits of ecoroofs for improving the livability of cities and managing stormwater runoff to achieve multiple benefits, including cost savings.

Design Features: Ecoroofs

Estimated Costs and Benefits

Ecoroof costs

Lessons Learned: has been able to quantify many of the ancillary benefits of ecoroofs and has found that publicizing these benefits presents a more convincing argument for the program than simply describing the importance of stormwater management. The most effective driver in convincing the construction industry, developers, and others to construct ecoroofs is the extended life of an ecoroof – 40 years – as compared to the 20-year life of a conventional roof. Constraints faced by BES include difficulties in extrapolating findings from the literature to the City of Portland and monetizing benefits. Hopes to monetize other benefits (e.g., from carbon sequestration, reduced heat island effects, and increased habitats) in future studies.

Contacts: Terry Miller (Ecoroof program information), email: tmiller@nullci.portland.or.us, Tom Liptan (cost-benefit analysis), email: toml@nullbes.ci.portland.or.us

Link: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/green/upload/lid-gi-programs_report_8-6-13_combined.pdf (pages A55-60)

Resources

Green Infrastructure’s Contribution to Economic Growth: a Review.

Connecting Smart and Sustainable Growth through Smart Specialisation.

Green Infrastructure Case Studies for Business

The Future of Investment: Green Infrastructure

Storm Water Case Studies

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