Going Green Can Cost Less

Heather Diemer - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

By Chelsea Bellay

It might be a surprise, but green infrastructure (GI) construction costs can be lower than conventional design.

If you think about it, traditional infrastructure systems typically involve curbs, gutters, piping, inlets and manufactured water quality structures. While GI systems are designed to use existing drainage patterns, vegetated swales and other best management practices (BMPs) for the conveyance and treatment of stormwater runoff. 

GI techniques aim to mimic the natural water cycle, reduce overall stormwater management requirements and lessen the need for costly drainage systems. GI practices can even regenerate and strengthen over time rather than wearing down - increasing life-span and reducing the need for costly replacement.



Maintenance practices for vegetated systems can typically be rolled in to general landscape maintenance and generally do not require heavy equipment.

Check the facts:

"Maintenance cost savings range between $3,950 and $3,583 per acre per year over ten years for native landscaping approaches over turf grass approaches.” Source

In a case study of green infrastructure implementation in Lancaster, PA it was found that “For the 25-year green infrastructure scenario, the avoided capital cost of implementing grey infrastructure is $120 million and the avoided operation cost of $661,000 per year.” Source (page 6).

Downstream Impact

  • Reduced flooding
  • Reduced water treatment costs
  • Increased property values
  • Environmental Benefits

  • Create habitat
  • Improve biodiversity
  • Promote air quality benefits
  • Reduce the heat island effect
  • Social Impact

  • Aesthetics
  • Education
  • Improved Quality of life

  • There are more options available today than ever when it comes to stormwater management. 

    Our stormwater experts and landscape architects are well-versed in both conventional and green approaches. Let us help you design a plan that makes the most sense for you!

    Chelsea Bellay is a site design engineer at Nave Newell. 

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