Utility Fee Incentives in North TX – Giving Developers a Reason to think “Green”
Green infrastructure can often provide more benefits at lesser cost than single-purpose gray infrastructure.
A growing body of research and experience demonstrates the potential for green infrastructure to improve the triple bottom line at multiple scales. Even with the growing amount of evidence in favor of this new stormwater management design approach, there is still a general assumption that it costs more and is more difficult to maintain.
North Texas cities are using utility fee incentives to promote the use of green infrastructure and giving developers and landowners a valuable reason to think “green” first. The City of Frisco and Fort Worth are leading the way to help promote the use of sustainable stormwater infrastructure. One of the first locations to take advantage of this incentive is Forest Park Medical Center in Fort Worth. This medical center not only has a green roof which will be used in the process of healing for patients, but uses two FocalPoint High Performance Biofiltration Systems to treat the stormwater runoff from the site’s impervious areas. This Green Infrastructure solution qualifies for a 45% utility fee discount that Fort Worth issues to help mitigate the costs of the aging stormwater infrastructure.
Below is a breakdown of the utility fee costs and discount:
- ERU = $5.40/MonthEquivalent Residential Units (ERU) = 2,600 ft2
- Forest Park Medical Center = 85 ERU
- Utility Fees: $459.00/Month = $5,508/Year
- 45% Discount: $206.55/Month = $2,478.60/Year
The costs savings not only covers yearly maintenance for the FocalPoint system, but over time provides a return on investment (ROI) for the initial cost. One important component that Fort Worth is requiring for this incentive is a maintenance agreement with the property owner. This ensures that the Best Management Practice (BMP) is maintained and functioning according to the original design. No other city in the DFW metroplex requires landowners to enter in a BMP maintenance agreement for a utility fee incentive. This model is similar to what occurs in Harris County, where a Stormwater Quality Permit (SWQ) is required for landowners who employ BMPs for stormwater treatment. Making maintenance a priority for stormwater management systems is the only way to guarantee that these BMPs will improve water quality. Without maintenance, BMPs can further degrade the water quality and have a negative impact on the downstream water resources.
What makes Construction EcoServices unique in the stormwater marketplace, is that we provide the first year’s maintenance for the FocalPoint High Performance Modular Biofiltration System. Included with the first year’s maintenance are hydraulic conductivity tests performed after installation and again after the first year. In addition to these tests which ensure that the system is functioning properly, our exclusive ‘cap and seal’ construction process prevents contractors from prematurely inundating the BMP with sediment during construction. Whether designing bioswales, street side planters, rain gardens or any other type of bioretention system, the incorporation of the FocalPoint Biofiltration System will increase performance, lower costs, and provide reliability and performance guarantees not available with any other Low Impact Development solution available today.