In December 2013, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) issued The Green Edge: How Commercial Property Investment in Green Infrastructure Creates Value. The 8 page report explores the wide range of benefits green infrastructure can provide to the commercial real estate sector. These include higher rents and property values, increased retail sales, energy savings, local financial incentives (such as tax credits, rebates, and stormwater fee credits), reduced life-cycle and maintenance costs, reduced flood damage, reduced water bills, reduced crime, and improved health and job satisfaction for office employees. The report provides illustrative examples for retail buildings, office buildings, and multi-family residential buildings, showing that the cumulative value of these benefits can total in the millions of dollars over a long-term (40-year) planning horizon.
Facilitated by Onondaga County’s Save the Rain program, a number of green infrastructure projects have been implemented in Syracuse that viscerally demonstrate some of the benefits described in NRDC’s report. Some examples of such projects designed by local engineers Natural Systems Engineering are shown here.
Example 1: Stormwater Infiltration Planters and Pervious Pavers to Provide Stormwater Management and Aesthetic improvement at a Renovated Classroom Building:
Example 2: Extensive Green Roof Provides Stormwater Management, Prolongs Roof Life, and Provides an Amenity for Office Building Occupants
Example 3: Porous Pavement and Bioretention Provide Stormwater Management, Aesthetic Improvement, and New Parking Surface for Artist Studio Building