InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Water Sustainability in Cities > Unit 7. Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure
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Unit 7. Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure


Summary

Unit 7 continues the use of the CME Building Case Study to explore water sustainability in the context of a building. The activity is extended to the catchment level, and a new tool for catchment level storm water management is introduced. Students are exposed in the pre-class assignments to low impact development (LID) and green infrastructure and the EPA National Stormwater Calculator. In class, the central activity is applying the EPA National Stormwater Calculator to evaluate an LID control plan for the CME building case study. The unit brings together concepts from previous units through the use of the calculator. The impact of landscapes, buildings, and other features on storm water runoff is illustrated. And the potential benefit of LID controls is analyzed. The homework assignment engages students in the search for a local green infrastructure site to take a picture and summarize the site in the context of a sustainable site.

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Learning Goals

After completing Unit 7, students will be able to:

  • Describe low-impact development storm water management controls
  • Apply the EPA National Stormwater Calculator to determine storm water management benefits of low-impact development controls

Context for Use

Unit 7 extends the rainwater harvesting unit (Unit 6) to continue to explore solutions for water sustainability. The rainwater harvesting unit (Unit 6) focused on a building scale, while Unit 7 focuses on a catchment scale that includes the building from Unit 6. This unit is designed to considerably advance students' familiarity with low-impact development and green infrastructure. Students will need to have installed software, which presents numerous challenges for instructors. The computer expertise expected is beginner-level. Students should be able to access the Internet, download and install software, and navigate a users guide to learn the basic construct of a computer tool. Depending on instructor preference and student level, the students might be asked to perform greater pre-class activities to prepare to use the software in class. For most students in engineering and sciences, there will be sufficient familiarity with computer tools for analysis.

Description and Teaching Materials

Pre-Class Assignments

In-Class Activities

(15 min) Warm-up and Discussion

  • Orient students to lesson and place in module
  • Present lesson learning goals
  • Review student responses to pre-class questions and discussion; are provided to aid the instructor.

(20 min) EPA National Stormwater Calculator Activity, Part 1: Setup Case Study

(10 min) EPA National Stormwater Calculator Activity, Part 2: LID Controls

  • Students continue with case study and explore LID control alternatives
  • Students encouraged to work with rainwater harvesting, rain gardens, and pervious pavement
  • Compute LID control benefits and compare with the baseline conditions
  • Select final plan and record results

(15 min) EPA National Storwmater Calculator Activity, Part 3: Report

  • Students prepare individual report
  • Select results to report

(10 min) Mind Map Extension

  • Review water system mind maps created previously
  • Add or improve green infrastructure practices and other storm water management solutions

(5 min) Summary and Next Class

  • Review lesson learning goals
  • Next class — extreme events
  • Assign Unit 7 homework (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 22kB Jul4 16)

Teaching Notes and Tips

  • Instructors need to be aware that this unit requires the use of the PC-only EPA software noted. Working with software is always a challenge because of the myriad issues that may arise — software/operating system incompatibility, power, laptops needed, etc. The instructor needs to be confident the students have their own laptops and they are instructed to bring them to class with the software installed. Or a class may be held in a computer lab and the instructor needs to take responsibility for having the software installed.
  • The EPA software accesses the Internet to acquire data. Internet access is required.
  • It is important to have additional help in the classroom to troubleshoot the software application as students work through the exercise. Teaching assistants and/or graduate students will be very helpful and should do the training before the class and have basic knowledge and experience with the software tool.

Assessment

Three assessment instruments are used in Unit 7:

  1. Pre-class questions are collected and reviewed to assess the first learning goal.
  2. Student submittals of case study application of EPA National Stormwater Calculator provides assessment of learning goal #2.
  3. Homework is used to assess learning goal #1.

References and Resources

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »