Green infrastructure — natural and semi-natural features ranging from street trees and roof gardens, to parks and woodlands — offers several business opportunities including a potential increase in land and property values, according to a UK Green Building Council report.
Aimed primarily at property developers and clients, the report, Demystifying Green Infrastructure, also identifies business risks from failing to incorporate adequate green infrastructure into building projects — such as delays in planning, increased costs and reputational damage.
The benefits and risks can be felt across the entire building lifecycle from planning and construction to operation, and extend beyond this to include staff productivity and retention, and future proofing.
Other benefits of green infrastructure include:
- reduced installation and maintenance costs
- reduced energy/air conditioning costs through natural cooling from living walls, roofs and courtyards
- improved health and well-being of people
Risks associated with failing to incorporate green infrastructure include:
- planning permission being refused or delayed
- loss of valuable habitat
- reputational damage through loss of client relationships/investment
The report, sponsored by Aggregate Industries, Canary Wharf Group and Skanska, sets out a number of tools that can be used to measure the value of green infrastructure, whether economic, social or environmental.
It also includes 18 case studies highlighting good practice on green infrastructure conservation or enhancement. These include Canary Wharf’s new Crossrail station, which features green infrastructure such as reed beds and water terraces (to provide improved water quality and biodiversity) and a new roof park (which offers a valuable new amenity and wildlife resource).
Earlier this year, Verdantix identified green infrastructure as one of its hot sustainability trends for 2015.