Today’s designer must overcome challenges such as: Where do we “hide” the new water-saving and energy-efficient hardware, and how do we design eco-friendly landscapes to please clients used to water-hungry foliage.
While meeting the challenges of the Green movement seems daunting at times, efficient product design and clever integration makes these challenges far more manageable.
The suburban Greenhaven residential housing project located in Chelsea Landing, East Cobb County, Georgia exemplifies such a creative use of Green technology and design. Even before it was fashionable, Richard Feis, president of Pace Homebuilders in Atlanta, Georgia recognized the importance of Green building strategies. Every home at Greenhaven carries EnergyStar and EarthCraft certifications, and incorporates the Xeriscaping landscaping method whenever possible. Xeriscaping reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water supply by capturing and distributing rainfall. Xeriscaping is promoted especially in areas without easily accessible fresh-water supplies; however, Xeriscaping is gaining popularity in other areas as well because it saves homeowners money every month, and it is Earth-friendly.
Greenhaven, the first eco-friendly neighborhood in its area, carries the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes certification and showcases the latest in green-building techniques.
Among Greenhaven’s Xeriscaping features is its rainwater harvesting system. Rainwater harvesting is an excellent strategy for reducing dependence on municipal water supply. Collecting rainwater also reduces storm-water runoff, the number-one pollutant of rivers and streams. Rainwater collected and used onsite recharges the ground-water aquifer, and eliminates energy costs associated with moving water from another location. Natural rainwater is cleaner than other water sources, further reducing the required energy expenditures for treatment.
The Greenhaven water harvesting system employs The Original Rainwater Pillow. According to the manufacturer’s website, (www.rainwaterpillow.com), the system can harvest 1,000 to 40,000 gallons of rainwater. The flexible horizontal rainwater storage system used at Greenhaven is the 3,600-gallon, 15x11x3.4-foot model. It was installed out of view under the home’s deck.
Collecting Water Through The Hardscape
The rainwater pillow itself must be fed to do its job. So how does the water get there? Enter the Eco-Venetian Stone, a tumbled permeable-paver product manufactured by The Pavestone Company. At Greenhaven, the pavers cover the 4,800 square-foot driveway, as well as 400 square feet of front walkway. The paver’s joint profile allows surface water to infiltrate into the pavement and its sub-layers. With its initial 100 inches-per-hour permeability average flow-rate, the pavers meets a majority of current storm-water management plans. It also assists in meeting current EPA storm-water regulations.The paver’s modular square and rectangular shapes, as well as its cleft surface set it apart from other permeable pavement treatments. The design achieves a fine balance between good looks and efficient water-collection capabilities.
The Road To Green Success
It is an exciting time to be a landscape architech, as these professionals operate on the forefront in transforming our world into a place that is both beautiful and Earth-friendly. As environmentally-conscious building practices becoming more popular with consumers, rainwater harvesting, along with other eco-friendly landscape technologies, are poised to become standard features. The landscape contractors who understand how to incorporate such technologies into their projects will see their business success and professional standing increase dramatically.