From street trees to green walls, nature-based approaches are shown to deliver significant environmental and economic benefits for developers and communities
Investors and businesses seeking guidance on how to harness nature based solutions to boost profits and meet sustainability objectives can draw on a new report, titled Nature based solutions to the climate crisis, published yesterday by the Manchester-based Ignition project.
The report analyses a range of nature-based solutions to construction and urban planning challenges: street trees, green roofs and walls, urban parks and green spaces, and sustainable drainage systems
It breaks down the benefits offered by each these solutions across five areas: climate change; resource use; nature and biodiversity; health and wellbeing, and socio-economic impact.
The research highlights how each of these established approaches delivers a range of environmental, social, and economic benefits. For example, research conducted by the project team found that green roofs and green walls result in average energy savings of 6.7 and eight per cent respectively, while each street tree can sequester an average of 5.5kg of CO2 every year. Street trees also reduce air temperatures by an average of 3C, researchers found, with green walls and roofs having similar effects.
Further benefits can be seen in terms of reducing water use, the study finds, with green walls and roofs and street trees all contributing to a circular system whereby water can be retained and reused. Sustainable drainage systems can advance this process even further, retaining up to nearly three-quarters of rainwater runoff, the study finds.
The report also outlines cost estimates for both installing and maintaining each of these nature based solutions. In collating all this information in one place, it aims to support the "increasing number of building developers and owners [who] are setting ambitious targets on carbon reduction, climate resilience, and increasing biodiversity", according to Alastair Mant, head of business transformation at the UK Green Building Council, which contributed to the report.
"The data in this report illustrates how nature-based solutions can help achieve all of these," Mant added.
The Ignition Project brings together 12 organisations to develop innovative solutions to enhance Greater Manchester's natural environment, including Manchester City Council, the Environment Agency, and Business in the Community .
"The IGNITION evidence base brings together a vast amount of data that puts numbers on that value and supports the case for nature-based solutions across the built environment," said Sam Evans, environment programme lead at Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
"This business report gives a vital snapshot into the stand-out statistics found in the evidence base, inspiring confidence in business leaders and investors to increase their use of nature-based solutions to deliver greater outcomes for business, society and the environment."
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