follow us on facebook follow us on twitter email us

2017 Campus RainWorks Challenge

About the Challenge
Recruiting students to join the fight against stormwater pollution

Posted By: Environmental Protection Agency
Category: Ideas, Designs, Scientific/Engineering
Skill: Plans/Strategies Interest: Science & Research Submission Dates: 12 a.m. ET, Sep 01, 2017 - 11:59 p.m. ET, Sep 30, 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water is pleased to announce the 6th annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a design competition that is open to colleges and universities in the United States and its territories. Through the Campus RainWorks Challenge, EPA seeks to engage with undergraduate and graduate students to foster a dialogue about responsible stormwater management and showcase the environmental, economic and social benefits of green infrastructure practices.

Stormwater runoff is a major source of water pollution in urban communities across the United States. Traditionally, stormwater is drained through engineered collection systems, or “gray infrastructure,” and discharged into nearby waterbodies. Stormwater doesn’t like to travel alone:  as it moves through the landscape it captures and carries trash, bacteria, heavy metals and other pollutants from the urban environment. These contaminants degrade water quality and threaten public health. High stormwater flows also cause erosion and flooding, damaging habitat, property, and infrastructure. Green infrastructure offers flexible solutions for managing stormwater runoff.

The term “green infrastructure” refers to a variety of practices that restore or mimic natural hydrological processes. While “gray” stormwater infrastructure is largely designed to convey stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure uses soils, vegetation and other media to manage rainwater where it falls through capture and evapotranspiration. By integrating natural processes into the built environment, green infrastructure provides a wide variety of community benefits, including improving water and air quality, reducing urban heat island effects, creating habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, and providing aesthetic and recreational value. Green infrastructure solutions can also be cheaper to install and maintain than traditional gray infrastructure.

Water pollution associated with stormwater runoff is a problem that is growing in scope and magnitude. Communities need planners, designers, engineers, and other professionals to create dynamic, resilient, and affordable solutions for stormwater management. Today’s scholars are tomorrow’s design professionals. The Campus RainWorks Challenge will recruit their creativity and expertise to jointly advance EPA’s mission of protecting public health and water quality.

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 supportive of the design concept?

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) - 5%

• Does the project demonstrate how the use and predicted performance of green infrastructure practices can build resilient communities capable of 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, vegetation, or other means)?
• Does the project describe how the design will be integrated into campus life and how the design will 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) - 5%

• 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?

Financial Viability (Demonstration Project) - 5%

• Does the team present a cost estimate for the proposed project?
• Does the narrative include detailed information on how the project could be paid for?
• Did the team research grants, loans, or other sources of financing that must cover the entire projected cost of the project. If financing will occur over multiple years, does the project or academic institution have a sustainable revenue stream capable of repaying loans? Information included in the narrative must represent a viable financing path to project construction.

Community Engagement (Demonstration Project) - 5%

• Does the project contemplate public outreach and education (e.g., examples of signage, infrastructure tours, or other learning opportunities)?
• Will the proposed project complement efforts within the broader community or help address environmental, economic, or social areas of need?
• Does the project forge partnerships and/or identify stakeholders (e.g., alumni networks, city, county, state, non-profit, private entities) that could help support the proposed project? The purpose of such partnerships or stakeholder involvement could include, but is not limited to financial support or operations and maintenance.

Maintenance (Demonstration Project) - 5%

• Does the design allow for easy and effective maintenance?
• Does the narrative contain information on how the project will be operated and maintained over time?
• Did the team collaborate with the Facilities department in developing the O&M plan?

Quality of Graphics (Demonstration Project) - 10%

• Is the design board the correct dimensions?
• Are the design board and additional graphics legible to the viewer?
• Are the design board and additional graphics original and complementary to the project narrative?
• Do the design board and additional graphics give the viewer a strong visual understanding of the site context, design elements, and desired performance?

Video Presentation (Demonstration Project) - 10%

• Is the video pitch persuasive and does it use plain language?
• Does the video pitch illustrate the environmental, economic, and social potential of the project?
• Is the video pitch original, creative, and unique?

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, 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, 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) - 10%

• Does the project demonstrate how the use and predicted performance of green infrastructure practices can build resilient communities capable of effectively managing stormwater runoff?

Innovation and Value to Campus (Master Plan) - 10%

• 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 benefit the campus community and if appropriate, the community directly adjacent to the campus (e.g., by providing educational or recreational opportunities)?
• Are the predicted benefits quantified and supported by appropriate assumptions?

Interdisciplinary Collaboration (Master Plan) - 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 (Master Plan) - 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 description of how the design would be phased/implemented?

Community Engagement (Master Plan) - 10%

• Does the project contemplate public outreach and education (e.g., examples of signage, infrastructure tours, other learning opportunities)?
• Will the proposed project complement efforts within the broader community or help address environmental, economic, or social areas of need?
• Does the project forge partnerships and/or identify stakeholders (e.g., alumni networks, city, county, state, non-profit, private entities) that could help support the proposed project? The purpose of such partnerships or stakeholder involvement could include, but is not limited to financial support or operations and maintenance.

Quality of Graphics (Master Plan) - 10%

• Is the design board the correct dimensions?
• Are the design board and any additional graphics legible to the viewer?
• Are the design board and any additional graphics original and complementary to the project narrative?
• Do the design board and any additional graphics give the viewer a strong visual understanding of the site context, design elements, and desired performance?

Video Pitch (Master Plan) - 10%

• Is the video pitch persuasive and does it use plain language?
• Does the video pitch leave the viewer with a strong understanding of the environmental, economic, and social potential of the project?
• Is the video pitch original, creative, and unique?

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, 2017 and closes September 30, 2017

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 15 by 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 Board (saved as “###-Designboard.pdf”)
  3. Video Pitch (video URL)
  4. Letter of Support (saved as ###-Letter.pdf”)
Prizes
1st Place Demonstration Project Category $5,000.00 The 1st place winning team in the Demonstration Project category will earn 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 Master Plan Category $5,000.00 The 1st place winning team in the Master Plan category will earn 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 Demonstration Project Category $3,000.00 The 2nd place winning team in the Demonstration Project category will earn 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 Master Plan Category $3,000.00 The 2nd place winning team in the Master Plan category will earn 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, student teams must be affiliated with a degree-granting public or private institution of higher education located in the U.S. and be 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, 2017.

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:

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.

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
  • One (1) Design Board
  • One (1) Video Pitch
  • One (1) Letter of Support

Submissions should provide detailed information of sufficient quality to enable the judges to evaluate the design. Submissions should describe overall project goals, how the project fits within the context of 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 meeting the challenge criteria.

  • Each team must prepare a project narrative not to exceed twelve (12) 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 additional pages 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. The cover page must display the team’s registration number, project title, names and academic majors of team members, and the name and academic department of the team’s faculty advisor. The cover page must also include a project abstract of no more than 250 words.
  • Teams must provide an electronic copy of the project narrative in Adobe Acrobat® PDF format. Instructions on submitting deliverables are provided below.

Design Board

  • The intent of the design board is to provide a visual understanding of the site context, design elements, and design performance.
  • The design board must focus on visual elements and limit the amount of text. The design board should supplement, not duplicate, graphics within the project narrative.
  • Each team must prepare one 24” x 36” design board. The design board must include the team’s registration number (see Registration section) in the upper right hand corner.
  • The design board must include a site plan. Additional elements might include cross sections, conceptual drawings, or graphics representing anticipated benefits.
  • Teams must provide an electronic copy of the design board in Adobe Acrobat® PDF format. Submission instructions are provided below.

Video Pitch

  • Each team must prepare a video pitch about the project not to exceed 3 minutes. Videos longer than 3 minutes will not be viewed.
  • The video pitch should be persuasive in illustrating the potential environmental, economic, and social benefits of the project.
  • The video pitch could include, but is not limited to: a tour of the potential site; discussion of design components; interviews with team members, faculty or industry practitioners; or financing options. Content and style are at the discretion of the student team. Creativity and enthusiasm are encouraged and appreciated.
  • Teams must upload their video pitch to YouTube or a similar video-sharing website and provide a link with their submission (see submission instructions). Videos should be set as “unlisted” or “private” so that entries cannot be detected by search engines prior to the submission deadline. Once the submission deadline has passed, teams should set their videos to “public”.  See below for instructions on uploading project videos to YouTube and setting videos as “Unlisted” on YouTube:
  • How to upload a video on YouTube
  • How to change a video’s privacy settings on YouTube

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. Each team must submit a letter from a member of the college or university’s facilities planning department demonstrating support for the proposed design.
  • The letter does not count against the 12 page limit of the Project Narrative. 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 must be on appropriate letterhead. Additionally, the letter must be signed by a member of the facilities planning department, and include the registration number and project title.
  • The letter must be provided in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Instructions on submitting project files are provided below.
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
Challenge Followers
Public Profile: 0
Private Profile: 1