Green infrastructure is designed to collect and manage rainwater where it falls, and uses the natural environment like plants and soil.
Raingardens, vegetated swales, and porous pavement are all examples of green infrastructure. These systems can be used to manage stormwater, but provide additional benefits like flood control, air quality benefits, and habitat for wildlife. They are unlike typical “grey infrastructure” which is designed with only one purpose in mind - to convey rainwater off non-porous surfaces like streets and parking lots. Grey infrastructure consists of stormwater catch basins, pipes, and outlets. Benefits from green infrastructure include:
- Reduces flood risk by retaining rain and snow melt, slowing it before it gets to local lakes, wetlands, and streams.
- Can be used for irrigation
- Can be a more cost-efficient option
Green infrastructure has many benefits. It can reduce energy use by lowering air temperatures, lower carbon levels in the atmosphere, provide wildlife habitat and improve air quality.