Winners of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2015 Campus RainWorks Challenge showed the potential for stormwater management projects at universities. The designs showcased such benefits as mitigating 4540 Mg (5000 tons) of carbon dioxide in Texas, adding 803 m2 (8640 ft2) of pedestrian space in Maryland, implementing 29 green infrastructure techniques at a campus in New Jersey, and storing 1 million L (37,000 ft3) of stormwater in California.
For the challenge, interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate students working with faculty advisors applied green infrastructure principles to their own U.S. campuses. It showed how innovative designs and stormwater management can benefit schools and the environment. EPA chose first place, second place, and honorable-mention winners in both demonstration project and master plan categories, according to an EPA news release.
Winners in the demonstration project category examined how green infrastructure could be integrated into a particular site on campus, according to the release. The winners included the following projects:
- A University of Maryland, College Park, team placed first for its design to improve stormwater management in a 2 ha (5 ac) parking lot. The design would reduce impervious surface by 40% as well as add more than 1579 m2 (17,000 ft2) of new vegetation space, 56 trees, 803 m2 (8640 ft2) of pedestrian space, and reduce carbon dioxide by11 Mg (12.3 tons) annually.
- A University of California, Berkeley team placed second for proposing to redesign a creek site where the university had created a botanical garden with artificial landscape features. The design stores 1 million L (37,000 ft3) of stormwater runoff, increases pervious surface by 33%, increases native plant species, and has the potential to reduce flooding and restore ecological diversity.
- A Northeastern University (Boston) team received an honorable mention.
Winners in the master plan category showed how green infrastructure could be integrated into a broad area of a school’s campus, according to the release. The winners included the following projects:
- A University of Texas at Arlington team placed first for its design placing green infrastructure in relation to natural water flow of the Trading House Creek. The plan has the potential to reduce stormwater runoff by 635 mm (25 in.) annually, generate more than 1 million kwh of energy each year through photovoltaic cells, increase campus tree coverage by 89%, and mitigate 4540 Mg (5000 tons) of carbon dioxide.
- A Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, N.J.) team placed second for a stormwater management plan that includes 29 green infrastructure techniques to reduce runoff, contaminant discharge, and potable water usage.
- Another University of Texas at Arlington team received an honorable mention.