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Key Objective: 4.2.3 Double Green Infrastructure Installations
Green infrastructure refers to “stormwater management practices that protect, restore, or mimic the natural water cycle.” These are biologically based treatment areas that clean stormwater and reduce erosion caused by runoff. Campus currently has 24 green infrastructure installations including permeable pavement, green roofs, rain barrels, and bioswales (vegetation-filled trenches for runoff capture and filtration).
In addition to maintaining our current projects’ quality, we aim to double campus green infrastructure areas by FY24. Ideally, new installations will be evenly distributed to double all existing efforts. Below are examples of how we will supplement existing installations.
Campus currently has nine green roofs on buildings including Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Business Instructional Facility, and the Art and Design Building. Green roofs are valuable for reducing runoff and lessening heat’s impact on heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. We could augment these benefits by planting pollinator-supportive native landscapes on green roofs. Additionally, future buildings and major remodels (e.g., renovations to Illinois Street Residence Hall) will be undertaken with the potential for green roofs in mind.
Cisterns and rain barrels
Many residential properties in our community use rain barrels for rainwater management. Rain barrels act as green infrastructure by seamlessly integrating natural rainfall into small-scale irrigation sites. At the larger scale, campus can increase the use of underground cisterns to collect rainwater which could potentially be used for campus irrigation systems. Increasing the use of rain barrels and cisterns in university-owned spaces (and subsequently phasing out sprinklers) will bolster our water conservation efforts. These systems capture rainwater for reuse, thus reducing the volume of runoff and associated pollution that often follow heavy rain. This will shrink the volume of potable water unnecessarily dispensed for irrigation, allowing for that valuable resource to be conserved.
Smaller-scale rain barrels can be installed at pollinator pockets on campus. Currently, this is being implemented at the Idea Garden and in conjunction with the pollinator gardens near Davenport Hall.