Sustainable concept has been adopted in several industries as a response to climate issues, resource depletion, and population growth. As we confront these environmental challenges, rethinking our approach to infrastructure has become imperative. Sustainable infrastructure offers a transformative way that not only addresses these challenges but also brings a multitude of benefits to society, the economy, and the environment. From renewable energy systems and green buildings to efficient transportation networks and water management strategies, sustainable infrastructure offers a range of advantages. These include actions to mitigating climate change, enhancing resilience, improving public health, creating economic opportunities, fostering social equity, and increasing quality of life for communities in general.
Here are the key benefits of green infrastructure in environmental, economic, and social aspects.
- Improves Climate and Mitigating Heat
Green infrastructure, such as urban parks, green roofs, and street trees, can help cool down the heat in the cities. It reduces surface temperatures and provides shade in many spots which makes the environment to be more enjoyable and more comfortable.
- Improves Air Quality
Green infrastructure plays a crucial role in improving air quality by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen. According to a study by the Indian Institute of Science, the green cover in Bangalore can decrease air pollution by up to 40%. Examples are urban forests, street trees, and green roofs that contribute to cleaner air.
- Helps Increase Energy Efficiency:
Green infrastructure contributes to energy savings in buildings by providing insulation and shade. According to the Indian Green Building Council, green buildings can reduce energy consumption by up to 30%. Green roofs, shading devices, and cool roofs are examples of green infrastructure elements that promote energy efficiency.
- Protects Biodiversity and Ecosystems
Green infrastructure can support ecosystems, preserve, and restore natural habitats and biodiversity by promoting the efficient use of energy, water, and other resources, including using renewable energy, such as solar energy. The examples are corridors for corridors for wildlife, foster pollinator habitats, and improve overall ecological resilience (European Commission, 2013).
- Health and Well-being Benefits:
According to the World Health Organization, access to green spaces can contribute to numerous health benefits, including reducing stress, improving mental health, increasing physical activity, and better overall well-being (World Health Organization, 2016). It provides spaces for physical activity, relaxation, and social interaction.
Adopting and embracing sustainable infrastructure practices can bring numerous benefits to society and the environment. Sustainable infrastructure can pave the way for a more sustainable future by mitigating climate change, improving air quality, enhancing energy efficiency, protecting biodiversity, and promoting society’s well-being. It is important that we continue to prioritize and invest in sustainable infrastructure to create better conditions for the communities and preserve our planet for future generations.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). (2016). Sustainable Infrastructure: A Guide into the Role of Infrastructure in Sustainable Development. Retrieved from https://www.unep.org/resources/report/sustainable-infrastructure-guide-role-infrastructure-sustainable-development
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). (2021). Sustainable Infrastructure Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.iisd.org/topics/sustainable-infrastructure/benefits
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (n.d.). Benefits of Green Infrastructure. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/green-infrastructure/benefits-green-infrastructure
Dhyeya IAS. (n.d.). Green Buildings: Benefits and Importance. Retrieved from https://www.dhyeyaias.com/current-affairs/daily-current-affairs/green-buildings
The Carbon Mandal. (2023). Benefits of Green Infrastructure: How It Can Improve Your Community. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/benefits-green-infrastructure-how-can-improve-your-community/
European Commission. (2013). Green Infrastructure (GI): Enhancing Europe’s Natural Capital. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ecosystems/docs/green_infrastructure_leaflet.pdf
Nowak, D. J., Hirabayashi, S., Bodine, A., & Greenfield, E. (2018). Tree and forest effects on air quality and human health in the United States. Environmental Pollution, 237, 754-764.
Rosenzweig, C., Solecki, W. D., Romero-Lankao, P., & Mehrotra, S. (2019). Cities lead the way in climate-change action. Nature, 573(7772), 357-366.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2021). Green Infrastructure. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/green-infrastructure
World Health Organization. (2016). Urban Green Spaces and Health: A Review of Evidence. Retrieved from https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/321971/Urban-green-spaces-and-health-review-evidence.pdf