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2016 Campus Rainworks Challenge

About the Challenge
Challenging students to design innovative stormwater management projects on campus using green infrastructure.

Posted By: Environmental Protection Agency
Category: Ideas, Designs, Scientific/Engineering
Partners: The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Water Environment Federation (WEF)
Skill: Plans/Strategies Interest: Climate Submission Dates: 12 p.m. ET, Sep 01, 2016 - 12 p.m. ET, Sep 30, 2016 Winners Announced: Apr 22, 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water is pleased to announce the 5th annual Campus RainWorks Challenge for undergraduate and graduate students. EPA is inviting student teams to design an innovative green infrastructure project for a location on their campus. Student teams will collaborate with a faculty advisor to develop a project narrative and design boards describing the project. Winning teams will be awarded a student prize to be divided evenly among student team members, as well as a faculty prize to support green infrastructure research or training.

The Campus RainWorks Challenge is designed to engage students in reinventing our water infrastructure. In most developed areas, stormwater is drained through engineered collection systems and discharged into nearby waterbodies. This stormwater carries trash, bacteria, heavy metals, and other pollutants from the urban landscape, degrading water quality. Higher flows can also cause erosion and flooding in nearby streams, damaging habitat, property, and infrastructure. As our cities and towns grow, more of our streams, lakes, and bays will be at risk. At the same time, these cities and towns will demand even more clean water to meet household and industry needs.

Green infrastructure refers to systems and practices that use or mimic natural processes. While “gray” stormwater infrastructure is largely designed to convey stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure uses soils, vegetation, and rainwater harvesting to manage rainwater near to where it falls. By weaving natural processes into the built environment, green infrastructure can also provide many community benefits, including improving air quality, reducing urban heat island impacts, reducing energy consumption, enhancing wildlife habitat, and providing community amenities.

As communities develop and climate patterns shift, both urban stormwater impacts and urban water needs are expected to grow. Our nation and our planet need innovative planners, designers, engineers, and other professionals to create resilient and affordable solutions. The Campus RainWorks Challenge is designed to encourage college and university students to become part of these solutions.

Judging Criteria

DOCUMENTATION (Demonstration Project) - 10%

• Are the documents well-written and free of errors?
• Are the documents of sufficient quality to enable the judges to evaluate the design?
• Does the project include a description of the overall project goals, project context, existing conditions along with the problem to be solved, proposed green infrastructure approaches, and expected outcomes?
• Are references effectively utilized?

PERFORMANCE (Demonstration Project) - 20%

• Will the design retain and treat stormwater runoff on-site (e.g., through infiltration, evapotranspiration, or harvest and use) to improve water quality?
• Will the design address multiple water resource goals (e.g., water conservation, flood mitigation, groundwater recharge, water harvesting and use, water reuse)?
• Is the predicted performance quantified and supported by appropriate modeling and calculations? Calculations should include the design storm managed and/or the annual reduction in runoff volume.

RESILIENCY (Demonstration Project) - 20%

• Did the team examine and describe the current and/or potential short-term impacts of climate change on their college or university community?
• Does the project demonstrate how the use and predicted performance of green infrastructure practices can mitigate and build resiliency to those impacts while effectively managing stormwater runoff?

INNOVATION AND VALUE TO CAMPUS (Demonstration Project) - 15%

To what extent were innovative approaches developed to simultaneously address campus environmental, social, and/or economic objectives?
• Will the design protect and improve ecosystem services (e.g., those provided by soil and vegetation)?
• Does the project describe how the design will be integrated into campus life and how the design will serve to benefit the campus community (e.g., by providing educational or recreational opportunities)?
• Are the predicted benefits quantified and supported by appropriate assumptions?

INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (Demonstration Project) - 10%

• Does the project demonstrate collaboration between different disciplines (e.g., landscape architecture, architecture, engineering, environmental science, biology, economics, public administration, business administration, communications)?
• Does the project cohesively communicate the functionality and value of the design from both an engineering and design perspective?

LIKELIHOOD OF IMPLEMENTATION (Demonstration Project) - 10%

• Did the team collaborate with the Facilities department in developing the design?
• Does the design complement existing master plans or serve as a model for new long-term planning efforts?
• Does the project include a reasonable timeframe and a description of how the design would be phased/implemented?
• Does the team present a feasible cost estimate (i.e., did the team look into available funding options, such as grant funding or campus capital improvement funds, for implementation of the project)?

MAINTENANCE (Demonstration Project) - 10%

• Does the design allow for easy and effective maintenance?
• Did the team develop an operations and maintenance (O&M) plan to maintain the system performance and aesthetics?
• Did the team collaborate with the Facilities department in developing the O&M plan?

DOCUMENTATION (Master Plan) - 10%

• Are the documents well-written and free of errors?
• Are the documents of sufficient quality to enable the judges to evaluate the design?
• Does the project include a description of the overall project goals, project context, existing conditions along with the problem to be solved, proposed green infrastructure approaches, and expected outcomes?
• Are references effectively utilized?

PERFORMANCE (Master Plan) - 20%

• Will the design retain and treat stormwater runoff on-site (e.g., through infiltration, evapotranspiration, or harvest and use) to improve water quality?
• Will the design address multiple water resource goals (e.g., water conservation, flood mitigation, groundwater recharge, water harvesting and use, water reuse)?
• Is the predicted performance quantified and supported by appropriate modeling and calculations? Calculations should include the design storm managed and/or the annual reduction in runoff volume.

RESILIENCY (Master Plan) - 20%

• Did the team examine and describe the current and/or potential long-term impacts of climate change on their college or university community?
• Does the project demonstrate how the use and predicted performance of green infrastructure practices can mitigate and build resiliency to those impacts while effectively managing stormwater runoff?

INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (Master Plan) - 15%

• Does the project demonstrate collaboration between different disciplines (e.g., landscape architecture, architecture, engineering, environmental science, biology, economics, public administration, business administration, communications)?
• Does the project cohesively communicate the functionality and value of the design from both an engineering and design perspective?

LIKELIHOOD OF IMPLEMENTATION (Master Plan) - 15%

• Did the team collaborate with the Facilities department in developing the design?
• Does the design complement existing master plans or serve as a model for new long-term planning efforts?
• Does the project include a description of how the design would be phased/implemented?

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT (Demonstration Project) - 5%

• Does the project contemplate public involvement with the local community (city, county, state, or other organizations) or partnerships that could help support the proposed project?
• Does the project contemplate public outreach and education (e.g., signage, events)?

Community Engagement (Master Plan) - 5%

• Does the project contemplate public involvement with the local community (city, county, state, or other organizations) or partnerships that could help support the proposed project?
• Does the project contemplate public outreach and education (e.g., signage, events)?

How to Enter

Registration:

To compete in EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge, student teams must first complete an online registration form posted on www.epa.gov/campusrainworks. The intent of the registration form is to allow EPA to confirm the eligibility of each team. Once a team has submitted a registration form, the team will receive a registration number via email. Registration opens September 1, 2015 and closes September 30, 2015.

Submission Instructions:

EPA will collect submissions to the Campus RainWorks Challenge via email. Participating teams must email their submissions to RainWorks@epa.gov by Friday, December 18 at 11:59 PM EST.

Email submissions must include the registration number (###) in the email subject and in attached file names.  Email submissions must include the following components.  Note that the total size of all files must not exceed 15 MB:

  1. Project Narrative (saved as “###-Project Narrative.pdf”)
  2. Design Boards (saved as “###-Design1.pdf” and “###-Design2.pdf”)
  3. Letter of Support (saved as ###-Letter.pdf”)
Prizes
1st Place Master Plan Category $5,000.00 The 1st place winning team in the Master Plan category will earn both a student prize of $2,000 to be divided evenly among student team members, and a faculty prize of $3,000 to support green infrastructure research or training.
1st Place: Demonstration Project Category $5,000.00 The 1st place winning team in the Demonstration Project category will earn both a student prize of $2,000 to be divided evenly among student team members, and a faculty prize of $3,000 to support green infrastructure research or training.
2nd place Master Plan Category $3,000.00 The 2nd place winning team in the Master Plan category will earn both a student prize of $1,000 to be divided evenly among student team members, and a faculty prize of $2,000 to support green infrastructure research or training.
2nd place Demonstration Project Category $3,000.00 The 2nd place winning team in the Demonstration Project category will earn both a student prize of $1,000 to be divided evenly among student team members, and a faculty prize of $2,000 to support green infrastructure research or training.
Solutions
No solutions have been posted for this challenge yet.
Rules

Eligibility:

To compete in the Campus RainWorks Challenge, each student team must be affiliated with a degree-granting public or private institution of higher education located in the U.S. and sponsored by a  faculty advisor. All team members must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at an eligible college or university as of August 31, 2016.

Submission Categories:

To encourage participating teams to assess the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure at a range of spatial scales, EPA is accepting submissions in two design categories: a Demonstration Project category and a Master Plan category.

Demonstration Project Category

For submissions in the Demonstration Project category, EPA is seeking proof-of-concept level designs that examine how green infrastructure could be integrated into a particular site on the team’s campus to meet multiple environmental, educational, and economic objectives. Entries in this category should include detailed information on the design and performance of the proposed demonstration project, and should reflect extensive consultation with the facilities planning department to assess project feasibility.

Master Plan Category

For submissions in the Master Plan category, EPA is seeking conceptual designs that examine how green infrastructure could be integrated into a broad area of the team’s campus. Entries in this category should be coordinated with existing campus master plans and should describe how green infrastructure could be used to enhance the long-term sustainability of the campus.

For Both Categories

This year’s competition asks student teams to incorporate climate resiliency considerations into their stormwater management designs. For both submission categories, teams should examine and describe the current and/or potential impacts of climate change on their college or university communities. Entries should qualitatively and/or quantitatively demonstrate how the predicted performance of the team’s proposed green infrastructure project can mitigate and build resiliency to those impacts while effectively managing stormwater runoff (e.g., manage localized flooding, prepare for drought, reduce or eliminate irrigation, reduce urban heat impacts, lower energy demands).

Submission Requirements

To compete in EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge, registered teams must submit the following which describe an innovative green infrastructure project for a location on their campus:

  • One (1) Project Narrative,
  • Two (2) Design Boards, and
  • One (1) Letter of Support

Submissions should provide information of sufficient quality to enable the judges to evaluate the design. Submissions should describe the overall project goals, project context within the campus or watershed, existing conditions along with the problem to be solved, proposed green infrastructure approaches, and expected outcomes.

Project Narrative
  • The intent of the Project Narrative is to provide a summary of each team’s approach to addressing the challenge criteria (see Judging section).
  • Each team must prepare a Project Narrative not exceeding ten (10) 8.5” x 11” pages (including images, graphics, and tables; excluding cover page, abstract, and an additional allowance of two pages for calculations and references only). Note that pages in excess of ten will not be reviewed. Pages should be consecutively numbered with 1” margins, and text should be single-spaced in standard 12-point font. Headings may be larger than 12-point font; text labels for graphics or images may be smaller than 12-point font; page numbers may be outside of the 1” margin.
  • The Project Narrative must include a cover page (including registration number, project title, first and last names and disciplines of team members, and name and discipline of faculty advisor) and a project abstract (250 word maximum).
  • Teams must provide 1 electronic copy of the Project Narrative in Adobe Acrobat® PDF format. Instructions on submitting deliverables are provided below.
Two Design Boards
  • The intent of the Design Boards is to provide a visual explanation of the site context, design elements, and design performance.
  • The design boards must focus on visual elements and limit the amount of excess text. The design boards should supplement, not duplicate, graphics within the Project Narrative.
  • Each team must prepare two 24” x 36” design boards. Each board must include the team’s registration number (see Registration section) in the upper right hand corner.
  • The design boards must include a site plan. Additional elements might include cross sections, conceptual drawing(s), or graphics representing anticipated benefits.
  • Teams must provide electronic copies of each design board in Adobe Acrobat® PDF format. Instructions on submitting deliverables are provided below.
Letter of support
  • The intent of the letter of support is to demonstrate consultation with the college or university’s facilities planning department to develop a feasible design.
  • The letter of support does not count against the ten (10) page limit of the Project Narrative.
  • Each team must submit a letter from a member of the college or university’s facilities planning department demonstrating support for the proposed design. Letters of support are not to exceed two 8.5” by 11” pages. Note that pages in excess of two will not be reviewed.
  • The letter of support must be on appropriate letterhead, must be signed by a member of the facilities planning department, and must include the registration number and project title.
  • Letters of Support must be provided in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Instructions on submitting project files are provided below.

For complete eligibility requirements and rules, please visit the Campus RainWorks Challenge website to read the competition brief: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/crw_challenge.cfm

Submit Solution
Submissions for this competition are being accepted on a third-party site. Please visit the external site for instructions on submitting: http://www.epa.gov/campusrainworks
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