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TIpping the scale

Infrastructure and service delivery needs will differ by city, and so will the composition of their respective portfolios. Thus, the proportions in the graphic above are for presentation only. But among all cities, infrastructure planning can properly prioritize the maximum integration of green assets by taking steps to ensure that green assets get proper consideration and, when they are the right solution, they actually get implemented.

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Process Improvement Starts at Step 1

 

Checklist: Getting started

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In general, determine what is perpetuating the default to grey and identify opportunities to incentivize the integration of green.

Procurement
Do procurement rules - at any level - prohibit design-build, limit the pool of applicants, disincentive new project types, etc? 

Legislation
Does your state grant authority to establish a stormwater utility? 

Regulation
How does regulating for flow instead of volume influence project design? 

Development
Require green infrastructure and/or green fund investments on new developments as the cost of doing business. 
Align codes across watershed/ecological boundaries to streamline collaboration and the process of scaling. 

Accounting
Familiarize your finance and legal teams with GASB 62. A 2018 rule clarification establishes the use of the Regulatory Assets Approach to debt-finance distributed infrastructure and incentive programs with muni bonds. CLICK HERE to read our primer and get started. 

 
 

Examples

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New Orleans, Louisiana

In 2017, the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability issued the city’s first-ever RFI jointly with the city’s Office of Information Technology and Innovation in the form of a Digital Equity Challenge. The response and resulting insights were so overwhelming that the City’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is utilizing an RFI for its Comprehensive Recovery Plan. While neither example is a green infrastructure program, the takeaway remains that much stands to be gained be rethinking the procurement process. 

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Lousiville, kentucky

Used green assets as a means of reducing costs for sites with significant stormwater conveyance needs. They have consistently found that – without taking any shared or “co-benefits” into account – green is the cheaper solution for conveyance. Deep infiltration trenches have proven to deliver on both cost and performance and effectively tip the scale toward green solutions. 

milwaukee, wisconsin and St. Louis, missouri

The Metropolitan Sewerage Districts in each of these cities give grants for green infrastructure projects that include long-term maintenance agreements. Milwaukee requires a 10-year easement to ensure system maturity on projects greater than $25,000, and St. Louis requires a maintenance agreement that stays with the property in perpetuity.


 

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