Last year, EPA launched a competition for college campuses, the Campus RainWorks Challenge. One goal of the competition was to students onboard early with green infrastructure—raising awareness and encouraging future engineers, landscape architects, and planners to incorporate green infrastructure principles into their designs. The competition, which awards cash prizes for winning entries, will also help schools by funding further research.
The winners of the competition have just been announced. The University of Florida and the Illinois Institute of Technology won first prize for large and small institutions, respectively. (The competition defines a large institution as one receiving $35 million or more each year in federal funding for research and development.)
The University of Florida’s student team, which includes members from the Departments of Landscape Architecture, Environmental Engineering, and Agricultural and Biological Engineering, submitted a design that focuses on the campus’s central pedestrian corridor. It includes rain gardens and bioswales, collection pools, a green wall, and a green roof, among other features, and is intended to improve infiltration and stabilize ecosystem conditions in Lake Alice.
The student team from the Illinois Institute of Technology, which includes members from the Colleges of Architecture; Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering; and Business, also submitted a design that integrates green infrastructure—permeable pavement, rain gardens, underground cisterns, and water channels—into the campus’s main pedestrian thoroughfare. It acts as a demonstration project of sorts to illustrate water infiltration and conservation strategies, drawing students in by providing seating areas within the rain gardens, for example. The design reduces the campus’s annual runoff volume by 70 to 80% and, through its use of cisterns and the addition of native plants, reduces the university’s dependence on potable water supplies for landscaping.
Second prize winners were the University of Arizona (large institution) and The Missouri University of Science and Technology (small institution). Honorable mentions went to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Kansas State University; the University of Texas at Arlington; and Columbia University.
You can read more about the winning designs and see videos of the projects here.