I recently attended the North Carolina Low Impact Development Summit held in Raleigh, NC, where I learned, among many things, that the faculty and students at NC State made shirts that turned ADIDAS into an acronym: All Day I Dream About Stormwater. While I don’t ADIDAS, I do have a passion for the topic of LID, and wanted to share some of what I learned at the summit.
Around this time last year, I co-presented an all day seminar on LID in Tampa, FL. During my 8 years in Florida, I was able to work on many projects that incorporated LID. While the design concepts are the same, I was familiar with how we implimented LID in Florida, but not in North Carolina. So when I came across the info on this Summit, and saw there would be 9 case studies of North Carolina projects, I jumped at the chance to learn more. My big takeaways from the 2-day event:
1. Federal, State, and Local rules and regulations regarding stormwater quality are only going to get tougher and their impact on site design is only going to increase. Many older cities have CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow) issues that have to be addressed, and places like NYC and Philadelphia are achieving great results from cost-effective LID enhancements.
2. There is still a common misconception that LID costs more to implement. We saw in many of the NC case studies, the construction costs were actually reduced using LID methods. And in cases where the initial construction costs were higher, they were balanced out by reduced maintenance costs, or in the case of an apartment complex project in Texas, switching to an LID design opened up room for 2 more buildings and 48 more apartment units. You don’t need to be a developer to understand what 48 more units does to the land value…
3. North Carolina is working to streamline permitting for projects that incorporate LID, and a recently launched the beta version of STORM-EZ should help. STORM-EZ is a permitting tool for any size and any type of project that simplifies the design process and is especially beneficial for sites that will use a treatment train of LID methods. It is meant to speed up agency reviews and issuance of permits.
4. Many countries around the world are implementing LID methods, from Biotopes in Singapore to the SHARC project in Australia to infiltration basins in Sweden and Smart Swales in Denmark. Even China is attempting to improve their water quality (though maybe they should leave their air quality folks off the team…) In fact, the EU has committed to achieving “good” status on all water bodies by 2015.
Some of the NC case studies you can visit: (residential) Demarest Village in Wilmington & Highclere Community in Weddington; (commercial) Stevenson Toyota in Jacksonville & Sierra Nevada Brewing near Asheville.
The great thing about Little is we have the necessary experts all in house (civil engineers, landscape architects, and sustainability champions) with project experience in LID design, so let us know how we can help you!