Sustainable Business Network

SBN Research & Publications

The Impact of Green City, Clean Waters on Philadelphia (2019)

Research conducted on behalf of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia finds that the investments in green stormwater infrastructure are producing tangible benefits across the city, particularly in low and moderate-income areas. This update to SBN’s 2016 report, The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years, shows that Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW) is producing $4 billion in total economic impact for Philadelphia, including an average of 1,160 jobs annually. In 2018, GCCW reduced crime by nearly nine percent (8.7%) and saved the city $50 million annually in avoided health-related costs attributed to access to open space.



Spurring Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Stormwater Markets (2016)

Exceeding Intent: A Precedent Library of Exemplary Green Stormwater Infrastructure Projects (2016)

The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia’s (SBN) GSI Partners and the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC), with a team of leading industry professionals, have developed a precedent library of exemplary GSI designs, systems, and approaches to inform the approval of more green and innovative stormwater management projects in Philadelphia. With greater understanding of how GSI performs, performance metrics and calculation methods can be updated, designs can continue to improve, and there can be more comfort and confidence from the development community that GSI is an effective and affordable way to meet city regulations.

The precedent library is a collection of highly effective GSI projects from urban areas across the country that have been selected for their ability to demonstrate the dynamic performance capacity of different types and classes of GSI practices, and their application at a range of project types and scales. Case studies discuss the degree to which these projects are exceeding their intents – environmentally, economically, and/or socially. This collection of case studies is complimented by peer-reviewed research that further defends the degree to which GSI performs.

This library will be used to support the successful implementation of Green City, Clean Waters and to increase the industry’s collective knowledge on the performance of GSI.

View the report as a flipbook.

Download the report as a PDF.

The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years (2016)

This highly anticipated report, commissioned by SBN’s GSI Partners, measures the local economic impact of the first five years of Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW).  Findings show that GSI Partners experienced double-digit annual revenue growth from 2013 to 2014, and conservatively represent an annual economic impact of almost $60 million within the City of Philadelphia alone, supporting 430 local jobs and generating nearly $1 million in local tax revenues.  Conservative projections estimate that, over the life of GCCW, public and private investments in GSI are expected to produce a $3.1 billion impact in the Philadelphia economy, supporting roughly 1,000 jobs per year and generating $2 million per year in local tax revenues.

SBN staff held a briefing with City Council to share the key findings and advocate for their ongoing support of GCCW.  SBN will continue to use the report as a tool to advocate for strong city-wide commitment to GCCW as well as to point to the degree to which a strong environmental policy can catalyze strong local economic growth.  

Read the report.

Comment Letter on July 2015 Stormwater Regulatory Update (2015)

In advance of the Stormwater Regulatory Update, we, along with our friends at NRDC and PennFuture, sent a letter to PWD offering our support on certain aspects of the proposed changes and offered comments and concerns about others. Read the summary of PWD’s response to us from September 2015  – via in-person conversations and written replies.  We note what we heard the Department can currently do, what we heard is the intent of certain aspects of the Guidance Manual, and what we heard might be premature to do at this time.  As always, we appreciate PWD’s communication with us, and look forward to continuing the dialogue with them to support progress in these and other areas.

Read the letter.

Green City, Clean Waters Section of SBN’s Good Economy Challenge (2015)

SBN called on the new mayoral administration and City Council to advance Green City, Clean Waters through a number of policy recommendations. Read the GCCW section of the Good Economy Challenge or read the full SBN Good Economy Challenge

Green Roof Tax Credit testimony (2015)

Staff, along with several members, testified to City Council in support of the expansion of the Green Roof tax credit, and offered recommendations for continued improvements to the credit and the process.

Read the testimony.

Stormwater Plan Review Report: Compliments and Recommendations for Continued Improvements (2014)

In anticipation of the July 2015 Regulatory Updates, and to support GSI Partners goals of seeing better facilitation of the approval of greener and more innovative stormwater management practices, our Administrative Advocacy Committee evaluated what is working well with PWD’s current Stormwater Plan Review process, unpacked where there might be opportunities for improvement, and provided Recommendations fell into five categories: Communication, Resources and Website, Process, Code and Policy, and Internal and External Coordination. 

Read the summary  or read the full report.  

Local Community of Practice (2014)

In March 2013, SBN’s GSI Partners convened a Local Community of Practice, an immersive leadership development initiative for a subset of members. The group was tasked with crafting recommendations on how to maximize the success of Green City Clean Waters, especially as it relates to small and local business.Recommendations fell into the following categories: Policy; Process; Innovation and Research & Development; Financing; Contracting and Procurement; and Resources.

Read the report.

Capturing the Storm: Profits, Jobs, and Training in Philadelphia’s Stormwater Industry (2010)

SBN commissioned this report to analyze the need for an industry partnership to support and expand the GSI industry. The findings of this report led SBN to create the GSI Partners.

Read the report.

Gray to Green: Jumpstarting Private Investment in Green Stormwater Infrastructure (2010)

SBN published this report as part of its Green Economy Task Force. The paper projected challenges to private sector investments in GSI, and offered recommendations for addressing and overcoming these barriers that would work to ensure Green City, Clean Waters was a successful catalyst for smart, sustainable economic development and local economic growth.

Read the report.


Professional Development Grants

Let the GSI Partners help your business remain competitive in the growing GSI industry. We offer grants to our members to support their continued professional growth and to strengthen individual employees, businesses, and the local GSI industry as a whole. Take advantage of GSI-related continuing education opportunities for you and your staff.

Benefits of the Professional Development Grants

  • Up to $5000 is available per business per year.
  • The GSI Partners will cover up to 75% of the total cost of CEU’s, PDH’s, and other professional development opportunities related to members’ GSI portfolios (does not cover travel expenses).
  • Any course or conference that will help your business advance in the GSI industry will be considered.


  • Membership with SBN and the GSI Partners must be up to date.*
  • Please submit grant requests at least four weeks prior to the start of a course to allow for proper processing. 
    • Note: requests received within this 4 week period can still be considered for approval, but we cannot guarantee expedited processing. 
    • Note: these funds are grants, not reimbursements; any requests received after the date of a course cannot be considered for approval.
  • Receipts verifying registration for the course(s)/conference requested must be submitted within 30 days of course/conference date. All receipts from previously funded courses must be submitted before new grant applications can be considered.


  • Apply for grants for upcoming courses using our online form.  Rolling online application.
  • Within one week, we will review your application and let you know whether your grant request is approved, or if we require more information before we can make a decision.
  • If approved, we will process the grant request and send you a check for 75% of approved course fee within two weeks of our communication regarding the application status.
  • You register for the course/conference directly.
  • Upon registration, please send us receipts of the approved course(s)/conference(s).
  • If you an unable to register for a funded course or provide receipts verifying registration, SBN requires you to return the grant funding for that course(s). See Terms and Conditions.

Please contact our Program Manager at [email protected] with questions.

*The GSI Partners’ Professional Development Grants are available for current members interested in attending a course/conference to continue their professional growth.  For more information about membership, visit our membership page.

More Resources

Other helpful Philadelphia Water links:


Resources for material supply and GSI related services:



Green Stormwater Infrastructure Data Sets – Open data sets on public projects, private retrofits, private regulation projects, and stormwater grant awardees. 


PA Department of Environmental Protection resources:

Pennsylvania Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual (PDF)


Natural Resource Defense Council research:


New Jersey Future resources:


Additional web training and resources:

  • Municipal Online Stormwater Training Center– The Municipal Online Stormwater Training (MOST) Center was established in 2015 to bridge the gap in needed technical and financial stormwater management resources in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  This free, virtual Center provides users with tools to better communicate about, build and enhance local stormwater programs. 
  •– Tools and resources for integrating trees as green infrastructure for stormwater management. This guide helps inform local decision makers on best practices for including trees in stormwater design regulations and policies. 


Private-Public Partnerships

  • P3 Great Lakes– An initiative working to increase efficiencies and lower costs in green infrastructure through evaluating alternative delivery options, finance models, and decentralized stormwater management via community-based public-private partnerships (CBP3). 
  • EPA Local Government Guide to CBP3s– An EPA resource that allows communities to determine their capacity to develop a public-private partnership program to meet stormwater regulatory requirements. 
  • Municipal Online Stormwater Training Center– Offers a four part video series on leveraging the strengths of government and the private sector through public-private partnerships. 

Business Opportunities

PHLContracts -The City of Philadelphia’s contract system that displays all open bids with the city’s Procurement Department. 


eContract Philly – The City of Philadelphia’s online interface to support the city in purchasing non-competitively bid services. This website assists the public and interested vendors in applying for contract opportunities. 


Small Contracts, Big Ideas – Shares information on contract and non-contract opportunities within various Philadelphia City Departments. Most RFPs are for small to medium sized projects relating to technological innovations or web development. All listed RFIs seek information and/or ideas on potential solutions to address municipal challenges.


Rebuild Philadelphia Contract Portal – This portal lists the current contract opportunities available on park, recreation center, playground, and library projects through Philadelphia’s Rebuild program.