Archive for the ‘Stormwater mitigation’ Tag

Recycling Water, Wind, and Air

The CH2 Building with its shutters open for ventilation

The CH2 Building with its shutters open for ventilation

Some buildings have taken the initiative to make themselves much cleaner. A new and rarely discussed method of placing sustainability in buildings is drainage sewer water recycling. The Council House 2 (CH2) in Melbourne, Australia provides a solid case study for drainage water recycling. The building actually extracts street water falling into the sewers and recycles it into a usable water source. The building has its own water filtration located in the basement. Instead of using the city’s water main, the CH2 will use the recycled water for the toilets. Officials said although the water could be clean enough for hand washing, Australians would still find it controversial. “There is still a stigma around that, I don’t think Australians have got over it yet, even though many other countries do it,” said Rob Adams, the council design and culture director.

The building also has unique features to help with the earth’s natural lighting and heating. The windows are set to open at different times during the night to allow cooler air in, and the shades are set to allow a certain brightness of light in all day. The system is responsive and intelligent in its own right. “Each staff member will control their own desk lighting and air flow,” according to

In addition, “On the roof, six canary-yellow wind turbines have sparked curiosity among Melburnians and visitors to the city. The turbines are powered by motors from commercial washing machines.”

The building is the first to receive a 6 star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. These features are a good model for sustainability, but does it come at an added cost? The project allocated AU$11 billion or 21% of the AU$51b price tag. It may seem like a steep price to pay, but the expectations may prove otherwise. The council believes it can make up the AU$11b in as little as 10 years through savings on energy and water, as well as an increase in staff production. “[…] a healthier environment, including fresh air and non-toxic furnishings and paint, would cut sick leave,” and increase staff morale.

Most interestingly, the amount of parking was quite controversial for the building’s 500+ employees.

The building also includes, controversially, 20 car parking spaces on the mezzanine level. “There was lots of discussion about that,” Mr Adams said. “But it has been built so that, in a few years, if we decide we don’t want it any more we can convert that space into something else.”

That’s building for future flexibility. For further information on this building, please take a look at the article from

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Intern, VERTICES LLC


Rain Gardens and VPS a lesson in Stormwater Management

Photo courtest of Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Photo courtesy of Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Kari Rushe, a senior majoring in landscape architecture at Penn State has created a project to gain input from the community as well as teach them a thing or two about stormwater management. Rushe has sent up a Visual Preference Survey that is available on the State College Borough Council’s website as well as the Penn State department of landscape architecture’s Web site that features images of eco-friendly gardens as well as non-eco-friendly gardens. Eco-friendly gardens, also called Rain Gardens allow plants to treat rain and snow onsite, rather that having it runoff and pool into a body of water. These gardens prevent large puddles of water or ice patches which create a safety hazard. The drawback? Rain Gardens are not the most visually pleasing gardens. This is where the website comes in, respondents are asked to choose which images are most appealing to them, these results will eventually be compiled in a brochure for the borough. This is a perfect example of involving the community to make a difference! (

To see the survey on Rain Gardens please click here and to learn more about the project, you can visit Penn State’s landscape architecture website here

Bridget Musselman

Rutgers University Student Intern Vertices LLC