EPA announces University of California, Berkeley winner of 6th annual RainWorks Challenge for innovative design of green infrastructure


University of Arizona receives honorable mention

LOS ANGELES – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of its sixth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national collegiate competition that engages the next generation of environmental professionals to design innovative solutions for stormwater pollution.

“Today’s students are tomorrow’s innovators,” said EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator David Ross. “Through EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge, we are harnessing the creativity and enthusiasm of college students to solve local stormwater problems and better protect the environment.”

Stormwater runoff is a significant source of water pollution in America, conveying pollutants to waterbodies, contributing to downstream flooding, and threatening public health and the environment. The Campus RainWorks Challenge asks students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the country to apply green infrastructure design principles, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on the nation’s college campuses.

EPA invited student teams to compete in two design categories: the Master Plan category, which examines how green infrastructure can be broadly integrated across campus; and, the Demonstration Project category, which focuses on how green infrastructure can address stormwater pollution at a specific site on campus.

The University of California, Berkeley won 1st Place in the Master Plan Category for its project titled “(Re)Generations.” This project exemplifies long-term commitment and vision in stormwater management. Strawberry Creek is a local water body and defining feature of the Berkeley campus. Using this water body as a connective thread, the team’s design strategically phases green infrastructure across the campus, capturing 100 percent of the university’s stormwater runoff by 2100, and restoring water quality to the Strawberry Creek watershed. Watch the team’s video about their project: https://youtu.be/yRmrjUIsyVw

“The Campus RainWorks Challenge represents an opportunity for students to imagine—and potentially help build—a smarter, more vibrant and sustainable future for their local communities,” said University of California, Berkeley team lead Nate Kauffman. “What’s compelling about the Campus RainWorks Challenge is that the issues and opportunities on campus are so evident and familiar to students, who spend more waking hours on their respective campuses than anywhere else. Their knowledge, investment, and commitment to positive change therein is a crucial but too-often overlooked resource that campuses everywhere should seize on and take advantage of.”

The University of Arizona received an honorable mention in both the Demonstration Project and Master Plan categories.

“Following green infrastructure design principles, both honorable mention entries aim to transform previously sterile, flood-prone, or underutilized campus sites into multifunctional spaces that benefit the campus and engage students, faculty and staff in meaningful ways,” said University of Arizona Professor and Campus RainWorks Challenge Faculty Advisor Bo Yang.

The other three winners are the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1st Place Demonstration Project Category), the University of New Mexico (2nd Place Demonstration Project Category) and the University of Maryland, College Park (2nd Place Master Plan Category).

First place teams will receive a $2,000 student prize to be split among team members and a $3,000 faculty prize to support green infrastructure research and education. Second place teams will receive a $1,000 student prize and a $2,000 faculty prize.

EPA plans to announce the seventh annual Campus RainWorks Challenge in the summer of 2018. Since 2012 nearly 600 teams have participated in the Challenge.

Green infrastructure tools and techniques for stormwater management include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, habitat conservation, rain gardens, and rain harvesting systems. Using these tools decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. Communities are increasingly using innovative green infrastructure to supplement “gray” infrastructure such as pipes, filters, and ponds. Green infrastructure reduces water pollution while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings, and open space.

More information: www.epa.gov/campusrainworks

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