Beyond the extensive Carbon Sequestration possibilities (see Sustainable Landscapes - Part I)
here are other benefits of Regenerative Techniques for exterior spaces:
o Reduces exterior water requirements by 50% - 90%
o Reduces potable water demand. From 2 - 5 acre-feet per year (AFY) per acre
2.5 AFY/ac = 6600 AF (1% of current use) saved for each 4 sq mi converted.
(out of 1500 sq mi developed in SD).
o Reduces electricity use and associated GHGs through water savings –
currently 1000-2000 GWh/yr is wasted locally for exterior water inefficiency. [calculated from: ]
1% of 1000 GW = 10GW in saved electricity and GHGs for 4 sq mi.
o Possible carbon market benefits ($/MT)
o Stormwater capture and infiltration - 95% (required) or more of original natural.
o Increases groundwater recharge without dedicated land-use or risk to structures.
o Increases surface and groundwater quality by treating onsite.
o Re-humidification of urban/suburban soils = healthier, more robust enviroment.
o Eliminates or reduces runoff, erosion and sediments leaving site.
o Eliminates or reduces stormwater-transported pollutants by site and from any downstream interfaces (roads, other properties, etc.)
o Reduces flooding and flood potential downstream.
o Reduces stormwater handling facilities such as concrete storm drains and single-use retention basins (expensive and environmentally-inefficient).
o Enables "daylighting" - the re-conversion to natural streams and habitats.
o Reduces hydromodification, including damage and associated costs.
o Reduces size of future structural LID facilities owned/by municipalities
o Eliminates collection of site green waste - utilize onsite or compost in neighborhood.
o Eliminates green waste transport- and processing-related energy and pollutants,
including bulk composting operations, and/or loss of nutrients and biological activity when landfilled.
o Eliminates site contribution of methane, a landf 22x than CO2.
o Eliminates or reduces use of polluting landscape chemicals: fertilizers and bio-cides.
o Reduces or eliminates use of power-operated landscape tools.
o Reduces heat/cold island effect and therefore reduce energy use for cooling/heating.
o Improves mental health and Quality of Life –
healthy landscapes improve them, reducing medical costs and their associated energy/water impacts. Reduces ADD/HD in kids/adults.
o Replaces flyway habitats necessary for migrating birds.
o Replaces integrated niche habitats necessary for local species survival.
o Reconnects ground and canopy habitats necessary for other migrating animals/insects.
o Increases local Food Security –
grow organic food in local landscapes has many benefits, and can more than meet local needs. http://sdnhm.org/education/sustainable.html
(Numerous sources available and to be added.).
o Potential increase in earthquake security –
re-humidification of urban soils back to normal could increase soil elasticity, increasing ability of soils to resist deformation during an earthquake.
(Observed micro-cracking in overly dry urban soils, interspersed with overly wet or saturated seams - usually associated with over-irrigation in poor soils - may be increasing our earthquake risk. Note that undisturbed living structures hold and distribute soil moisture to optimum levels.)
All these together illustrate the significant impact just improving our poorest performing local soils could have on our economy, our ability to address climate change, and other social/economic/environmental challenges in a cost effective way.
Once the carbon math is done for these areas, adding them to CO2 sequestration potential, it appears that the area of improved landscapes needed to offset 100% 0f San Diego’s required CO2 reduction is as low as 10 sq miles!
(5 Million Metric Tons, per EPIC).