Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Parker Long
Submission Date Aug. 27, 2021

STARS v2.2

Virginia Commonwealth University
OP-22: Rainwater Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Parker Long
Sustainability Reporting and Outreach Coordinator
Facilities Management - Office of Sustainability
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Which of the following best describes the institution’s approach to rainwater management?:
Comprehensive policies, plans or guidelines that require LID practices for all new projects

A brief description of the institution’s green infrastructure and LID practices:
Virginia Commonwealth University has installed several projects to control stormwater runoff including several cisterns, rain gardens, porous pavement installations, green roofs, bioretention areas, and bayscaping projects and seeks to continue installing these stormwater management strategies wherever is feasible on campus. Rain garden The Grace E. Harris Hall Rain Garden is the first of its kind at VCU. Promoted by the student organization, Green Unity for VCU, the planting of the garden was an opportunity for students to come together and help to “green” the VCU campus. The rain garden contains flowering species native to Virginia and serves as a small oasis of natural beauty in the middle of campus for students to gather and enjoy. The rain garden reduces the pollution flowing into the James River by reducing stormwater runoff. As rainwater flows across roads, sidewalks and other impervious surfaces, the runoff collects chemicals, fertilizers and other pollutants. The rain garden captures the runoff from impervious or paved surfaces that would normally drain into the James River and Chesapeake Bay. The plants absorb the runoff, where toxins and sediments are filtered and retained in the soil, therefore reducing the amount of runoff making its way downstream. Rain gardens help to manage the amount and more importantly, the quality of stormwater runoff. Bayscaping The Bayscape Landscaping (bayscaping) at the Trani Center for Life Sciences is conservation landscaping that benefits wildlife, the James River and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. This type of landscaping uses native plants to reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff, filter pollutants and reduce landscape maintenance costs at VCU. Bayscaping reduces the amount of time needed to care for a landscape since all of the plants are locally adapted. It also reduces the amount of water used for irrigation and the use of chemical fertilizers. By installing bayscapes in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we are helping to improve the water quality of local streams, the James River, the Chesapeake Bay and the habitat that the area provides for its wildlife. Green roofs Virginia Commonwealth University has installed green roofs, vegetation planted on top of a waterproofing system installed on a roof, on various buildings across campus. More extensive green roofs are installed on both the VCU Rice Rivers Center and the Pollak Building. Other buildings on campus with green roofs include the Academic Learning Commons, the Honors College Building and the Institute for Contemporary Art. Pollak Building green roof A vegetated roof, completed in fall 2011, was installed on the southeast-facing roof of the Pollak Building on the Monroe Park Campus. This green roof serves as an educational asset and has a variety of sustainable features. Most materials were sourced locally, within 500 miles of VCU, including a terrace paved in Pennsylvania Bluestone, a built-in wood bench crafted of Black Locust (a local, native and rot-resistant substitute for Teak), and salvaged steel planters – cut from various diameters of salvaged steel pipe found at S.B. Cox in the east end of Richmond. The roof illustrates three different types of green roof planting strategies: conventional, meadow and native. The area of conventional green roof, the center portion of the roof, features a variety of low-growing sedum species, planted in three to four inches of growth media (sedum species, like cacti, are succulent plants, which can store water within their plant structures). Sedums in this area are non-native species, selected for their hardiness and ornamental characteristics. A second type of roof, a green roof meadow, occupies the outer, long edge of the roof. This section features somewhat taller plants, bedded in approximately six inches of growth media. Plants in this area are a mix of native and non-native species. The largest portion of the roofscape, closest to the building, features only plants native to Virginia – the first such green roof in the Commonwealth. Growth media in this section of the roof is approximately 12 inches deep, and can therefore retain more moisture than the other two sections of the roof.

A copy of the institution’s rainwater management policy, plan, and/or guidelines:
A brief description of the institution’s rainwater management policy, plan, and/or guidelines that supports the responses above:
VCU Facilities Management Design and Construction Standards Division 18: Sustainability 18.7 Water Harvesting Water harvesting and sustainable erosion control practices should be applied to all new construction projects. Each newly constructed building shall implement at least two of the following strategies: • Cistern strategies • HVAC condensate water harvesting • Grey water harvesting and reuse • Bio-retention strategies • Green screens, and living walls • Rain gardens • Bioswales 18.6 Landscape The following are the recommended landscape practices that help improve water quality, reduce storm water management loads, and relieve the demand on the locality storm water drain systems: • Substitute permeable surfaces for traditional paving methods. • Apply pervious material whenever practical for walkways and parking spaces. • Use Xeriscaping and no lawn landscaping methods. • Plant native and adapted plants. • Use best practice methods for high efficiency watering, such as programmed drip systems and soil moisture content meters. Division 07: Thermal & Moisture Protection 07.0 General Storm Water Drainage Provide storm water drainage that connects directly to storm water management facilities, without “daylighting” drainage across paved or landscaped areas. 07.6 Flashing & Sheet Metal All buildings shall have a positive means of conducting rainwater from the roof to an underground storm water system. On sloped roofs, adequately sized and securely installed gutters and downspouts of minimum 16 oz. copper shall be specified, unless otherwise established by Facilities Management.

Website URL where information about the institution’s green infrastructure and LID practices is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
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