In addition to helping the environment, American cities could receive billions of dollars in financial benefits from implementing smart surface solutions, like green roofs, solar panels and permeable pavement, according a new report. If applied nationwide, these smart technology strategies could potentially provide half a trillion dollars in financial benefits.
The Financial Upside of Smart Surfaces
The report by clean energy and venture capital firm Capital E provides a cost-benefit analysis of the potential implementation of smart surface solutions in three American cities. By installing smart technology in city infrastructure, it was predicted that El Paso, Texas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. would save more than $5 billion collectively.
Smart Technology Benefits Cities and Residents
Smart surfaces have other benefits beyond mere dollars and cents. Cool roofs, green roofs and other products can improve the health and comfort level of city residents. In stark contrast to today’s dark surfaces and sparse greenery, smart technology could lower temperatures and reduce air pollution.
5 Potential Benefits
- Enhance storm water management
- Reduce the negative effects of urban heat
- Reflect rather than absorb natural light
- Provide filtration that improves water quality
- Lessen flooding
“As smart surface deployment scales up, the urban cooling benefits would also grow proportionally, further reducing regional energy bills and smog, and improving health and livability in ways that bring compounding benefits,” the report stated. It could also contribute to slowing climate change.
Environmentally-Friendly Construction could Bring Job Growth
Many reputable studies have found that environmentally-friendly infrastructure builds can result in more construction jobs. For example, the World Bank estimates that wind and solar investment creates about 13.5 jobs per million dollars of spending. If cities were to adopt the plan proposed, it could create a stronger employment market in the skilled trades.
The report predicts that if a few cities begin to embrace smart technology in public works projects, the trend would likely spread to other areas. The net result could benefit our cities, our citizens and our environment all at once.