Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2015 - 35


14 REASONS TO INVEST NOW
IN GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

A

After years of neglect, infrastructure is again being discussed
as a major priority for public
investment. In the past, these
investments were largely directed
to grey infrastructure, the same type we
have been building for decades. It is time
for change!
Here are 14 reasons why living green
infrastructure such as trees, green roofs
and walls, rain gardens and others should
command a much greater share of public
infrastructure investment.

1. Green Complements Grey

The lifespan of roads, roofs and pipes
can be extended when they are built in
tandem with green infrastructure. Providing shade and reducing stormwater
runoff show where grey and green investments function effectively together.

2. Fiscally Prudent

Green infrastructure reduces water
pollution more cost effectively than grey
infrastructure alone. New York City
recently concluded that a green and grey
infrastructure approach offered cost
savings of more than $1.5 billion over a
grey infrastructure approach alone.

3. Better Return on Investment

Green infrastructure provides multiple,
rather than single benefits. Green roofs
can manage stormwater and save energy.
Green infrastructure provides more
benefits per dollar invested than single
purpose grey infrastructure.

4. Food Security

Community gardens and green roofs

provide recreation, community building
and better access to local, healthy food.
Food grown close to home reduces costs
and environmental impacts associated
with long haul transportation.

5. Reduces Building Energy Use

Green roofs, walls and neighboring trees
can make individual buildings more
energy efficient and climate friendly by
reducing heating and cooling demands
and greenhouse gases.

6. Creates Jobs

Green infrastructure investment, installation and maintenance is labor intensive
and thus a great local job creator - from
plant nurseries to designers and contractors.

7. Reduces Urban 'Heat Island

Cities are getting hotter and bigger. As
we grow, buildings, roads and other grey
infrastructure will continue to absorb
and retain heat. To balance growth, living green infrastructure naturally cools
cities.

8. Cleaner Air, Healthier People

Trees and vegetation directly remove air
pollutants, as well as contribute to lowering stress and blood pressure. Lower
air temperatures slow the formation of
ground-level ozone or smog, which in
turn can reduce asthma rates.

9. Cleaner Water

Pollutants captured in stormwater runoff
contribute to water contamination in
nearby lakes and rivers. When rainwater
is absorbed where it falls, plants, soils
and microbes break down many common

READ THIS ISSUE ONLINE AT WWW.LIVINGARCHITECTUREMONITOR.COM

BY MICHELLE SAWKA

ON SPEC

pollutants leaving our surface water
cleaner.

10. Reduces Flooding

Vegetation, drainage layers and soils
retain water and reduce stormwater
volumes. This keeps the rain out of
our drains, combined sewers and sewer
systems and helps reduce pollution and
floods.

11. Higher Property Values

Studies suggest that the mere presence
of living green infrastructure can improve property values by as much as 30
per cent.

12. Active Transportation

Connected green spaces make cities
more liveable, encouraging people to
hike, bike, walk, and enjoy nature more
often. New York's Highline is a great
example.

13. Improved Biodiversity

Urban forests, green roofs, walls and
wetlands which embrace species diversity creating habitat for bees, birds,
butterflies and other species.

14. Happier People

Seeing green makes people happier,
improves quality of life. It contributes
to a greater sense of community, better
academic performance and can reduce
symptoms associated with attention
deficit and hyperactivity disorders.
Michelle Sawka is the Project
Coordinator for The Green Infrastructure
Ontario Coalition.
www.greeninfrastructureontario.org

LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR / WINTER 2015 / 35


http://www.greeninfrastructureontario.org http://WWW.LIVINGARCHITECTUREMONITOR.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2015

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2015 - IP
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2015 - Cover1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2015 - Cover2
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2015 - IC
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2015 - ID4
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Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2015 - I-1
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