ASCE Partners with EPA and Other Groups in ‘Green’ Infrastructure Design Competition

January 17, 2013

On December 12 ASCE signed a memorandum of understanding with the Office of Water within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and with the Water Environment Federation and the American Society of Landscape Architects to jointly hold a “green” infrastructure design competition at colleges and universities. The goal of the competition, called the Campus RainWorks Challenge, is to encourage students to assess the technical aspects and economic advantages of green infrastructure solutions on their campuses. The EPA will award a total of $46,000 to first- and second-place winners, with separate categories for large and small institutions.

On September 4 the EPA invited student teams to design innovative green infrastructure projects for their campuses. As of January 1, 380 university teams had registered. Working with their faculty advisers, the student teams will develop 24 by 36 in. design boards depicting site contexts and design elements, and the submissions will also include project narratives and brief videos describing the projects. The winners will be announced on April 22 during Earth Week.

Two entities within ASCE, namely, the Committee on Sustainability and the Environmental and Water Resources Institute, are working on this endeavor and will be providing volunteer judges for the preliminary and final rounds. Students will be judged on the basis of their analysis and planning, soil and vegetation management, integrated water management, the extent to which the project preserves or restores natural features, and the project’s overall value to the campus. Mike Clar, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE, the chair of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute’s Low Impact Development Committee, is organizing the judges.

“ASCE is particularly interested in partnering with the EPA on the Campus RainWorks Challenge because it applies the principles of sustainability on a college campus. College campuses are really communities, [and] college campuses can be pilots for cities throughout the U.S.,” says ASCE’s executive director, Patrick J. Natale, P.E., F.ASCE. “This project will help educate future civil engineers about alternative approaches to sustainability and storm-water management.”

In the coming years the EPA hopes to invite student teams to design and complete demonstration projects as part of undertakings to build green infrastructure on their campuses.

Here is more information about the Campus RainWorks Challenge.

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