Sustainability Study Encourages Cities To Invest in Smart Surface Programs

A study published this week titled “Delivering Urban Resilience” says that cities can save billions of dollars, simply by utilizing sustainable designs in city buildings. Authored by Greg Kats and Keith Glassbrook, the report case-studied three major U.S. cities—Washington, D.C, El Paso, Texas, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by promoting “smart surfaces,” like green roofs, permeable and porous pavement, and solar panels in developed urban areas.
The research found that these features reduced excess heat levels and improved water quality, and positively impacted other factors that are spurned by climate changes around the world. The report concluded that a substantial amount of money was saved in each city: $540 million for El Paso, $1.8 billion for D.C., and $3.5 billion for Philadelphia. These figures take into account the investment needed for a smart surface program.
Mahesh Ramanujan, CEO, U.S. Green Building Council, notes why cities should get on board with the findings in the report: “By reducing heat island effects, increasing vegetation and green space, and using renewable energy, cities can make large and measurable improvements in how their cities perform. Just as importantly, this work shows that when health, productivity, jobs and energy benefits are tallied up across the city’s economy, the financial benefits provide an impressive return on investment.”[1]
If you’d like to read the full report, it can be found here.

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