The Landscape Performance Series Benefits Toolkit is a searchable collection of online tools and calculators to estimate landscape performance.
The tools can be used to estimate specific landscape benefits for completed projects when actual measurements are not available, or they can be used in the design phase to compare projected benefits among various options. Many tools also allow the user to compare life-cycle costs for conventional and sustainable design features.
Know of additional tools to calculate landscape performance benefits? Help build the database by sending your suggestions to email@example.com.
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Browse All Benefits Toolkit Title by Alphabet
National Stormwater Calculator (SWC)
This free desktop application estimates the annual amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff from a specific site anywhere in the U.S. The calculator uses EPA’s SWMM model and accesses several national databases that provide local topography, soil, historic rainfall, and evaportaion information. It is most appropriate for performing screening level analysis of small sites of up to several dozen acres with uniform soil conditions. Required inputs are the site location and percentage of the site covered by impervious and four types of pervious surfaces. Users then input the percent of impervious area that will be treated by seven types of green infrastructure: disconnection, rain harvesting, rain gardens, green roofs, street planters, infiltration basins, and porous pavement. SWMM then runs a continuous time series of rainfall and runoff at 15-minute intervals. Outputs include average annual rainfall, runoff, and percent of all rainfall retained, as well as daily event statistics like days per year with runoff and smallest event with runoff. The calculator has an option that allows for a comparison of baseline and other scenarios. An update to the SWC, which will include the ability to link to several future climate scenarios, is expected by the end of 2013.
i-Tree Eco (v 4.0)
i-Tree Eco (originally the Urban Forest Effects or UFORE model) uses detailed field data from complete inventories or randomly sampled plots to quantify urban forest structure, environmental effects, and value to communities. The study area can range from a single tree to a park to an entire county’s urban forest. Eco provides accurate estimates of air pollutant removal, carbon storage and sequestration, effects of trees on building energy use and emissions, and compensatory value of the urban forest. In version 4.0, the air quality model has been refined to include improved simulations, updated monetary values, and charts and tables that now display yearly, monthly, or hourly results. Users must register to download and install the free iTree software suite.Benefits
Energy use & emissions
Temperature & urban heat island
Carbon storage & sequestration
Recreational & social value
The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits
This broad analysis attempts to place an economic value on the numerous benefits provided by green infrastructure (defined here as a network of decentralized stormwater management practices). The report brings together current research on green infrastructure performance and presents methods for calculating related benefits. It offers simple equations to quantify water, energy, air quality, climate change benefits for green roofs, tree planting, bioretention and infiltration, permeable pavement, and water harvesting. To estimate the dollar value of each of these quantified benefits, examples and, when possible, simple equations are provided. The report also offers information and examples of benefits related to green infrastructure’s impact on the urban heat island effect, aspects of community livability, habitat improvement, and public education.
GBRL Green Roof Energy Calculator (v 2.0)
This calculator compares the annual energy performance of a building with a green roof to the same building with either a conventional dark roof or a highly-reflective white roof. The results are based on simulations run for new construction (ASHRAE 90.1-2004) apartment or office buildings and use typical weather data for 100 major cities in the U.S. and Canada. Inputs include nearest major city, total roof area, percent green roof cover, growing media depth, and leaf area index of plants. With version 2.0, users can now specify whether construction is new or older and whether the green roof is irrigated or not. The calculator uses default utility rates for each city, or the user can enter his own. Results are the electrical, gas, and energy cost savings for a green roof compared to a dark roof and a white roof. Additional outputs with version 2.0 include heat exchange between the roof and the urban environment and an estimate of the annual roof water balance, including net runoff.
ICLEI Active Transport Quantification Tool
This online assessment tool estimates public health, community, and environmental benefits of walking or riding bikes as alternate forms of transportation. The user adds actions such as walking or riding to school or work, along with the distance and frequency of these trips. The tool then quantifies the financial benefits associated with less driving, congestion, pollution, heart disease, and other health and community benefits, as well as the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The tool is free, but requires users to register and login in order to use it.
Excel Resource Conserving Landscaping Cost Calculator
This calculator compares the cost of converting conventional landscapes to landscapes that require less irrigation and produce less waste. Inputs include: configuration of the current landscape (proportion that is comprised of flowers, turf, shrubs, and ground cover), configuration of landscape retrofit, length of growing season, and area of watering zones based on frequency of irrigation. The calculator estimates the initial, 3-year, 6-year, 10-year, and average annual costs for the original landscape and water-saving retrofit. Costs include water use, maintenance, and waste disposal. Users have the option to input their own cost information.Benefits
Excel Decking Cost Calculator
This calculator compares the costs of building a new deck with recycled plastic, recycled wood/plastic composite lumber, cedar/redwood, and pressure-treated yellow pine. Based on the size of the project, the calculator estimates the initial, 3-year, 6-year, 10-year, lifetime, and average annual costs for each of these common decking materials. Costs include maintenance, and waste disposal. Users have the option to input their own cost information.
Excel Erosion Control Calculator
This calculator is designed to help landscape and construction companies estimate the cost of using environmentally beneficial compost filter berms or compost filter socks for erosion control, rather than conventional silt fences. Inputs are: linear feet of erosion control needed, estimated duration of project, and whether or not compost will be removed after the project. The Cost Calculator demonstrates that environmentally preferable erosion control methods are very cost competitive for all project sizes and durations, and that they offer significant savings for projects that run for more than a few months.
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