University of Florida and Kansas State University lead in innovative design of green infrastructure on campus
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the four winners of its second annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a design challenge created to engage college and university students in reinventing our water infrastructure and developing innovative green infrastructure systems to reduce stormwater pollution and build resilience to climate change.
Stormwater is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of stormwater pollute our nation’s streams, rivers and lakes, posing a threat to human health and the environment and contributing to downstream flooding.
The Campus RainWorks Challenge engages students and faculty members at colleges and universities to apply green infrastructure principles and design, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on campuses across the nation. This year, EPA introduced two design categories for the challenge—a master plan category, which examines how green infrastructure could be integrated into a broad area of a school’s campus, and a site design category, which examines how green infrastructure could be integrated into a particular site on the team’s campus. Teams of undergraduate and graduate students, working with a faculty advisor, developed innovative green infrastructure designs in both categories, showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment.
The 2013 challenge winners are:
Teams from University of Texas at Austin (Master Plan Category), Purdue University (Master Plan Category), Kansas State University (Site Design Category), and University of Maryland (Site Design Category) were recognized as honorable mentions for their entries.
EPA plans to conduct the third annual Campus RainWorks Challenge in the fall of 2014.
Green infrastructure decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. Green infrastructure reduces water pollution while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings, and open space. Green infrastructure builds resilience to the impacts of climate change, particularly by reducing the burden on local water infrastructure. Green infrastructure tools and techniques include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems. Communities are increasingly using innovative green infrastructure to supplement or substitute for “gray” infrastructure such as pipes, filters, and ponds.
For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/campusrainworks.
SOURCE: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)