University of Florida and Kansas State University lead in innovative design of green infrastructure
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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 storm water pollution and build resilience to climate change.
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 storm water at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment.
The 2013 challenge winners are:
- University of Florida, Gainsville, Fla., (1st Place, Master Plan Category): The team’s design plan centers on a 67.6-acre sub-watershed in the northeast corner of campus. To engage students with the journey of water, the three-phase plan would transform two detention facilities into campus amenities and daylight the flow of storm water into above ground pipes and vegetated bioswales.
- Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS (1st Place, Site Design Category): The team’s design plan calls for a storm water pocket garden in a high traffic area in front of Hale Library. Consisting of disconnected downspouts, wet meadows, rain gardens and storm water runnels, the system is designed to retain 100% of runoff from a 1-year storm.
- Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., (2nd Place, Master Plan Category): The team’s design plan centers on a 15-acre area in the center of campus currently dedicated largely to surface parking. To create new spaces for interaction while demonstrating sustainable storm water controls, the team proposed the addition of several campus amenities interwoven with green infrastructure. The team’s plan would reduce runoff from the 10-year 24-hour storm by 30% and would restore soils and native plant communities.
- Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Miss., (2nd Place, Site Design Category): The team’s design plan centers on the 1.3-acre Union Green in the heart of campus. To create a multi-functional space that provides an educational experience, the team proposed a three-phase design. The design would manage the 95th percentile storm, and would reduce peak flows for the 2-year 24-hour storm below the pre-development condition.
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.