Return on investment (ROI) analysis of sustainability
and smart growth initiatives
Dan has a passion for applying economic analysis principles and the growing body of research on environmental and social impacts to conduct return on investment (ROI) analysis of sustainability and smart growth initiatives. While at HDR, Dan helped customize and apply a sustainable return on investment (SROI) tool for the Boston Redevelopment Authority and subsequently worked with the BRA to develop one of the first triple bottom line ROI tools for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN). Dan continues work in this area linking these methods to smart growth and transit-oriented development planning and collaborates frequently with Impact Infrastructure to customize their leading-edge triple bottom line ROI tools and software to meet client needs.
For the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), Dan led the development and application of an SROI model to evaluate the sustainability benefits of Boston’s Federal stimulus-funded investments across housing, transportation, and other City departments. read more
Sustainability impacts were measured primarily in terms of energy efficiency, water conservation, and environmental effects of projects such as new solar panels, bike lanes, improved traffic intersections, and public building renovations. The analysis also examined near-term and long-term job creation benefits, reduced emissions, and cost savings for public buildings.
Working with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), Dan led a project for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) to develop an Excel-based triple-bottom line ROI analysis model. read more
The tool facilitated ROI analysis of: a) energy efficiency; b) renewable energy; c) mobility and transportation; and d) development projects in terms of economic, environmental, and social impacts. The USDN membership includes 75 cities across North America and this tool (2010) was a forerunner to a wave of ROI-modeling efforts across the U.S.
While communities often encourage development to spur economic growth, unplanned and sprawled development can result in negative impacts on the community, the level of traffic, the environment, open space, and other factors. read more
Understanding the impacts and cost implications of alternative land uses is important in terms of both fiscal impacts and broader triple bottom line effects on the economy, environmental and society. Dan (while at HDR) worked directly with the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) to: 1) develop a conceptual analytical framework to assess the costs and benefits of alternative development scenarios; and 2) apply this framework to estimate the costs and benefits of three land use development scenarios in Goffstown, New Hampshire.
The objective of the analysis was to compare the future costs (and cost savings) in terms of triple bottom line analysis of environmental, economic and social impacts. The scenarios included a status quo growth scenario (with a continuation of sprawled development), a more compact development scenario that preserves green space, and a community developed vision for growth. The monetized costs and benefits associated with each alternative were presented to SNHPC’s Planners Roundtable and New Hampshire state agencies leading the CTAP initiative. The findings demonstrated significant fiscal, energy, and environmental cost savings based on more compact development patterns that result in less infrastructure costs, fewer miles traveled, less energy consumption, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Dan (as part of the HDR consulting team), led all the economic analysis components of the Corpus Christi Integrated Community Sustainability Plan. read more
Corpus Christi was awarded funding for this innovative plan by the U.S. Department of Energy with emphasis on improving the energy efficiency of the city and examining sustainability from a comprehensive perspective. Dan developed a set of economic performance metrics that balanced “green” concepts like data on renewable energy jobs, LEED accredited professionals, and local farmers markets with more “traditional” economic development metrics necessary for a sustainable economy (job growth, per capita income, etc.). In addition, Dan developed a series of economic development goals and policy recommendations for Corpus Christi based on a review of existing studies, interviews with local economic development experts, and an assessment of recent economic trends and conditions.
For the New York City Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, Dan (while at HDR) was the lead economist applying a triple bottom line benefit-cost analysis framework to potential changes to the Sheridan Expressway. read more
In particular, scenarios included converting the expressway into a boulevard, opening up new park space, implementing green stormwater management and improving access to the Bronx River. Dan identified and helped customize a series of quantifiable benefit and cost impact variables for this study, and collaborated with a range of New York City stakeholders on the value of parks, potential impacts on housing development and property values, and environmental and energy implications.