What Is Green Infrastructure?

Garden Design ImageWhat Is Green Infrastructure?
Green infrastructure uses natural methods to mimic nature for managing storm water. In technical terms, biomimicry, or copying nature, utilizes the identical processes and systems within a natural environment, before land development. These systems and operations are widely used to solve stormwater issues.
Simply put, as buildings and structures were developed and constructed, the naturally sourced systems to take care of storm water were disturbed. These disturbances resulted in an increase in storm water runoff. Roads were built, homes were built, as well as the soil was compacted by construction equipment. These disturbances resulted in a tremendous surge in impermeable surfaces or, quite simply, surfaces that failed to allow water to percolate right through to the soil. The result – both volume and the peak flow of storm water increased. The rise in storm water runoff is significant. While this technique of construction and storm water management was conventional four decades ago, we are now seeing some of the pitfalls with this approach.
In an organic environment, prior to development, ninety-eight percent from the storm water that fell on any property stayed around the property. The leaves in the trees that covered the property because the rain fell, initially slowed the rain down. The soil, which was permeable rather than compacted, captured the majority from the rainfall. Only two or three percent of the rain that fell over a certain area ran off throughout the surface area. The velocity in the water runoff was significantly slower because of the vegetation covering that area.
The problems developed by the increasing velocity and flow of storm water has ended in an important number of problems. Stream banks are eroding and threatening to undermine building foundations. In some cases expensive shoring has become installed to stop losing property. In many areas, subterranean HVAC ductwork on some properties is collecting water causing mold spores. Subsurface water is surfacing on roadways producing flooding. In freezing conditions, icy roads and walkways create safety issues.
Why Green Infrastructure?
Green infrastructure is the latest and most effective increase in land use planning. Many businesses and communities want to utilize best stormwater management practices available. Green infrastructure was created within the United States inside mid 1990’s as a technique to deal with an increasing concern about the increasingly severe problems associated with stormwater issues. Storm water, or non-point source water, will be the largest method to obtain water pollution in America.
The conventional technology used half a century ago to take care of storm water ended up being rapidly collect it and pipe it away via engineered collection systems. As noted earlier, the traditional technology of fifty years ago has generated serious issues and is also no more an effective methods to stormwater solutions. Traditional infrastructure has been refined. Green infrastructure employs the most advanced methods and techniques for managing storm water.
What are the Elements of Green Infrastructure?
The components of green infrastructure utilize soil and plants, or vegetation, to deal with stormwater. Additionally, in creating a green infrastructure approach we examine the stormwater production as far upstream, as close for the source with the stormwater production, as you can.
There are two recommended primary elements:
1. Downspout Disconnections or Extensions
2. Rain Gardens and Bioswales
Downspout Disconnections or Extensions
The largest source of storm water runoff occurs from rain falling on rooftops. Many rooftops currently have a storm water collection system installed filled with gutters and downspouts. However, sometimes the downspouts drain into pipes that surface over a downgrade and also the storm water flows onto adjoining property areas. In other cases, the downspout outflows aren’t piped anywhere. They simply drain out onto the surface of the property. Finally, some downspout outflows are directed onto roadways and driveways.
Downspout disconnections and extensions require directing the stormwater from your downspouts into a permeable area, such as a rain garden or bioswale, as close for the source as you possibly can. The storm water is just not directed onto another impermeable surface like a roadway or driveway, as is the situation often seen today.
Downspout disconnections and extensions are the simplest and lowest priced way to mitigate the stormwater issues quickly. Additionally, this benefits the environment since it helps you to restore the natural water cycle.
Rain Gardens and Bioswales
Rain Gardens and bioswales are vegetated areas, lacking in elevation than the neighborhood, with engineered soil that allows rainwater being percolated via a series of soil and gravel layers. The purpose of an rain garden or bioswale is two fold. First, the rain garden or bioswale captures and detains storm water. Second, the rain garden or bioswale filters the storm water, thus reducing storm water runoff and pollution.
Rain gardens and bioswales can be found in an area as close as you can nearby the structure that produce the storm water runoff. Native plants are usually used by vegetation because native plants are more adaptable on the local climate , nor require all the maintenance as turf or other plant materials. The vegetation in a very rain garden or bioswale maintains the soil’s permeability and assists in filtering the storm water.
Rain garden and bioswales should be designed and engineered to capture totally of the one-inch rainfall. Ideally, the one-inch rainfall event is going to be retained for at least eighteen hours but not over seventy-two hours.
Conclusions
Embarking with a multi-year project that aims to lessen and eliminate many from the stormwater issues experienced since development while restoring the natural water cycle is one that takes informative, collaborative effort. This kind of forward thinking, integrated, and long-range planning approach will combine the existing traditional infrastructure with newer approaches to green infrastructure. The result is going to be a sustainable approach to stormwater mitigation that will likely be effective, resilient and cheaper inside long-term, than conventional stormwater management. Additionally, green infrastructure is more than just mitigating stormwater, it is restoring land development returning to a more natural state. Green solutions will have an optimistic, long lasting impact about the environment.

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