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EPA's latest green infrastructure strategy supports pervious, permeable pavements

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

As part of its new efforts to promote the use of green infrastructure by cities and towns, EPA includes discussion of such practices as pervious and permeable pavements, as well as rain gardens, green roofs, infiltration plants and rain harvesting, as means of wet weather management that are cost-effective, sustainable and help reduce stormwater runoff that could pollute the nation's waterways.

In addition to protecting health by decreasing water pollution, green infrastructure provides many community benefits, including increased economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings and increased recreational and green space. EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe announced the agenda at a Green Street, Green Jobs conference focused on fostering green infrastructure in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, noting, “Green infrastructure changes improve the health of our waters while creating local jobs, saving communities money and making them healthier and more prosperous places to raise a family and start a business.”

As part of the strategy, EPA will work with partners—including local governments, watershed groups, tribes and others—in 10 cities that have utilized green infrastructure and have plans for additional projects. The agency will encourage and support expanded use of green infrastructure in these cities and highlight them as models for other municipalities around the country. The cities are: Austin, Texas; Boston; Cleveland; Denver; Jacksonville, Fla.; Kansas City; Los Angeles; Puyallup, Wash.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Washington, D.C., as well as neighboring Anacostia Watershed communities.

Energy savings is one of the primary benefits of green infrastructure. On and around buildings, green infrastructure can reduce heating and cooling costs. For example, green roofs reduce a building’s energy costs by 10–15 percent, and an additional 10 percent of urban tree canopy can provide 5–10 percent energy savings from shading and windblocking. Green infrastructure also conserves energy by reducing the amount of stormwater entering combined collection and treatment systems, which reduces the amount of wastewater processed at treatment plants.  — http://epa.gov/greeninfrastructure