IES’s approach to all projects emphasizes an element critical to a successful remedy – communication and integration across technical, organizational, and social barriers.
Trees – properly selected and planted – can reduce energy and water consumption, improve air quality, and mitigate the effects of global warming, in addition to providing other environmental and human health benefits.The Institute for Environmental Solutions seeks to develop and implement a sound, scientific, effective plan to increase tree planting and improve urban environments.
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Trace contaminants are small amounts of chemicals found in water systems suspected to originate from pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Some of these chemicals have been linked to human illness, though many are not currently addressed by wastewater treatment processes. IES is tackling this issue through an objective, scientific, stakeholder-based process.
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COLORADO URBAN FORESTRY CLIMATE COALITION
Mitigate climate change. Support urban forestry.
Establishing a first-in-the-nation community-based climate change mitigation program that applies urban forestry as a marketable greenhouse gas offset. Colorado communities will work together through the Colorado Urban Forestry Climate Coalition (CUFCC) to develop, aggregate, and market the carbon sequestration function of their urban forests.
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An online tool for sustainable tree planting
Try TreeScapes, an online, interactive, and user-friendly tool that allows homeowners to optimize, quantify, and visually display the environmental benefits – carbon sequestration (global warming mitigation potential), air quality improvement (reducing ozone), energy savings, stormwater runoff prevention, particulate matter reduction (pollution control), and water conservation potential – of trees on their property.
In addition to our current project list, IES identified these potential projects in the Rocky Mountain region :
- A complex mixture of pollutant emissions under certain weather conditions causes urban (tropospheric) ozone air pollution. Compliance with federal air quality standards requires broad understanding of the sources and analyses of potential source control strategies. Reliance on computer model projections and conventional approaches can be expensive and ineffective. A measurement-based project could determine the real-world costs and effectiveness of potential air pollution controls.
- Impermeable surfaces from sprawl may aggravate drought conditions in the eastern United States (by reducing aquifer recharge and decreasing groundwater storage), but there has been little study of the heat island effects and increased evaporation that may be having parallel impacts in the arid west. A comparison of microclimates created from various surface conditions (e.g., asphalt, concrete, permeable paver stones, with and without vegetative buffers) would be useful to identify low impact hardscapes to reduce water shortages exacerbated by urban warming.
- Stormwater management projects attempt to integrate wetland and riparian plants along drainage corridors for natural filtration, habitat improvement, and aesthetic appeal, but long-term success of these efforts cannot be guaranteed. Monocultures and competition by invasive species are not uncommon because hydrologic variability, diverse native plant species, and maintenance have been often overlooked. A critical evaluation of the costs and benefits of designing and installing these restored areas, as well as successful maintenance strategies must occur.
- Research into the role of plant diversity to help restore songbird populations, which have significantly decreased nationwide due to the loss of native grasses and what can be done must also take place.
- Research into how reclaimed domestic wastewater could provide a water source to restore riparian and wetland systems if multiple-purpose design strategies were applied to water storage and distribution systems.