Millions could be saved through green infrastructure

Green infrastructure could save Auckland millions of dollars in critical infrastructure as well as providing a major environmental boost, according to a new report published this week.

Auckland Council’s chief sustainability officer John Mauro makes the recommendations in his latest Auckland Sustainability Quarterly.

Green infrastructure is an integrated network of natural and semi-natural systems designed and managed to perform ecosystem services, such as purifying water and replenishing supply, controlling floods and erosion, and pulling harmful toxins from the air.

The quarterly recommends principles for making green infrastructure a more prominent part of Auckland’s landscape and some quick wins that Auckland Council can do right now to set an example in its own planning.

“Internationally, cities save millions of dollars annually by using green infrastructure and water-sensitive design to divert sewer-bound stormwater, reducing electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions from processing,” says Mr Mauro.

“Some cities have shown annual savings from green infrastructure per city block – including permeable pavement that cuts pavement costs by almost half.

“Green infrastructure can be a restored stream buffer or a permeable paved path, a row of street trees or an urban forest, a green roof or a vertical wall, a rain garden or an urban farm.

“Auckland is already proving what can be done with pioneering projects such as Auckland’s longest urban stream, Te Auaunga/Oakley Creek.

“Led by Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters team, the 1.3 kilometre Te Auaunga/Oakley Creek project will reduce flooding and enable growth in an area of urban Auckland in a floodplain and slated for greater intensification under the Unitary Plan.”

Quick Wins: 5 things Auckland Council can do right now:

  • Put green roofs or solar PV on all new or renovated council buildings
  • Commit to incorporate cumulative stormwater effects by catchment area in consent decision making
  • Invest more in urban street trees
  • Require a green infrastructure option for all relevant capital spend, drawing from our stormwater policy
  • Identify major green infrastructure gaps

Read the Auckland Sustainability Quarterly here