Cleanwater Nashville

Metro Water Services

Green Infrastructure

What is green infrastructure?

The term Green Infrastructure (GI) currently has multiple interpretations and definitions depending on the context. For the purposes of the Green Infrastructure Integration Plan, Green Infrastructure refers to practices that provide social, economic, and environmental benefits through environmental site design that is intended to mimic the natural hydrologic condition and allow stormwater to infiltrate into the ground and evapotranspirate into the air.

Green Infrastructure is a natural approach that is used to replicate a site's predevelopment hydrologic function. The goal of Green Infrastructure is to design a built environment that remains a functioning part of an ecosystem rather than existing apart from it. This is a relatively new approach to urban stormwater management that strategically integrates stormwater controls throughout the urban landscape and does not rely on conventional end-of-pipe structural techniques. Typical benefits of Green Infrastructure include:

Clean Water Nashville benefit:

  • Reduction of stormwater flow into the combined sewer system (CSS)

Social Benefits:

  • Vegetation and shading reduce urban air temperature
  • Provides “Green Job” opportunities
  • Educational through street kiosks
  • Crime reduction
  • Improved health through improved air quality

Economic Benefits:

  • Energy cost reduction and water conservation
  • “Green Enterprise” business opportunities

Environmental Benefits:

  • Carbon sequestration
  • Improved water quality
  • Carbon footprint reduction
  • Recycling and beneficial reuse

Green Infrastructure Practices

Part of Nashville's ability to meet the challenge of balancing growth and environmental protection is through incorporating Green Infrastructure into both new and redevelopment efforts. Investing in Green Infrastructure offers the opportunity to enhance the existing infrastructure and protect the environment while simultaneously creating new green jobs, creating demand for green technologies, and revitalizing local neighborhoods. Twelve of the most common Green Infrastructure practices are listed below.

  1. Green roofs ▼
  2. Downspout disconnection ▼
  3. Filter strips ▼
  4. Infiltration practices ▼
  5. Pocket wetlands ▼
  6. Permeable pavement ▼
  7. Rain barrels/cisterns ▼
  8. Bioinfiltration/rain gardens/bioretention ▼
  9. Soil amendments ▼
  10. Street trees and afforestation ▼
  11. Tree box filters ▼
  12. Vegetated swales ▼