The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida first place in the large institutions category in the EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge. The RainWorks program is designed to motivate engineers, construction firms, campus planners and landscape architects to incorporate environmentally conscious building practices into new or existing structures.
The winning design specifically focused on Reitz Lawn, an eleven-acre grass-covered area, and how to remove stormwater pollutants before reaching Lake Alice, which is part of the Floridian Aquifer. The University of Florida plan includes a campus garden, rain gardens, collection pools, green walls and roofing. The plan also aims to cut water usage to maintain the campus by over three million gallons each year. Unique to this plan was the level of student input and comments that were solicited to determine where members of the campus community saw a need for improvement. The plan was then developed in conjunction with a faculty representative and twelve graduate students from disciplines ranging from landscape architecture, agricultural engineering and environmental and biological engineering.
In the Florida region, stormwater poses a serious challenge to maintaining water quality for the region. When contaminated stormwater reaches rivers and lakes, it pollutes the habitats of wildlife and can contribute to flooding – causing a multitude of problems for residents and businesses.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Green construction and landscaping practices such as green roofs, environmentally friendly building materials and surfaces and landscaping with native plants and rain gardens are some of the most frequent ways to incorporate green infrastructure into a residential or commercial building project. Be sure you incorporate them into the money saving options offered to clients!