Conservation Design Forum Spring Quarterly Newsletter 2011
in the newsne
The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) - Update 

Tuthill Corporate HeadquartersNow nearly a year into the two-year pilot project stage, the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) has been gaining support, enthusiasm, and recognition as a valuable tool.  A credit-based rating system (based upon the success of USGBC's LEED program) to help plan, design, develop, and maintain sites to maximize the ecosystem services they can provide, SITES promotes a restorative approach to land, water, landscapes, and sites to provide healthier, more cost effective places that are ultimately better for the people that occupy them.


Several of Conservation Design Forum's projects have been selected as SITES pilots, including the Tuthill Corporate Headquarters in Burr Ridge, Illinois:


                About the Tuthill Corporate Headquarters Pilot Project:

The Tuthill Corporate Headquarters Campus is located on a 20-acre property in Burr Ridge, Illinois. The office/training facility is located on a restored prairie hillside adjacent to a large wetland pond. The initial site investigation revealed a rare remnant prairie the owner was unaware of. The prairie was preserved, and formed the foundation for a complete native landscape restoration throughout the property. The rainwater management approach features native landscapes in combination with stormwater infrastructure designed to cleanse and infiltrate water on-site, effectively reducing or eliminating the generation of surface water runoff. The naturally daylit building is immersed into a beautiful, authentic native Illinois prairie, wetland, and woodland landscape which greatly enhances the quality of the workplace setting.


CDF is currently in the process of compiling and formatting the credit documentation, which will then be submitted to the SITES staff for review and comment. Once the requirements have been met, the Tuthill site will become one of the first to be certified under this program, and will help lead the way for others to use SITES to provide long-term value and benefit.


Read more about the Sustainable Sites Initiative 


EPA Stormwater Rule - Update 

 Environmental Protection Agency 

In 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency initiated a national rulemaking process to strengthen requirements for the reduction of stormwater discharge from new development and improvement to water quality through the NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) program. A growing body of evidence illustrates that green infrastructure (green roofs, permeable pavements, bioretention and biofiltration, etc.) outperforms more conventional grey infrastructure in flood reduction, water quality, and long-term economic value. The EPA rule prioritizes the use of green infrastructure as the preferred approach to stormwater management. This program will have an incredible impact on the way rainwater is dealt with in urban settings.


As part of the rulemaking process, the EPA is seeking input from a broad base of stakeholders and practitioners with experience in green infrastructure. CDF has provided input into this dialogue through direct participation and many of our green infrastructure projects from the past decade. Last week, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) collected and provided the EPA with over 450 case study projects to help illustrate the value, performance, and job creation potential of green infrastructure .  


Visit the EPA website

Learn more about the rule  

West Union Iowa Green Streets - Update

Watch the construction of the pilot project!

Iowa Green Streets Pilot Project - West Union

Construction is now underway on the restoration of West Union's downtown public realm. The Iowa Green Streets Pilot Project is a community-wide green streets demonstration project intended to serve as a catalyst to support local businesses and attract further investment in the historic downtown of West Union, Iowa. The project includes the complete renovation of six downtown blocks and will replace aging grey infrastructure with high-performance streets, sidewalks, utilities, and public amenities.  The project showcases the integration of a combination of innovative sustainable design strategies as a model for other communities, including complete streets-based improvements for pedestrian and cyclist safety and comfort, permeable pavements, bioretention/rain garden features, energy efficient lighting, and a district geothermal heating and cooling system. Locally-sourced materials will be crafted by local artisans to reinforce West Union's unique history and culture, and an open, inclusive community planning and design process has engaged West Union's youth, seniors, business owners, and volunteers in addition to dedicated staff and elected officials. The project was supported by the state economic development department and over $7.5 million of the approximately $10 million in capital costs were secured from various federal, state, regional, and local programs. The project is projected to save the community over $100 million in operations costs over a 50-year life cycle, provide a beautiful, authentic setting for community use, attract new patrons to West Union businesses, and foster local job creation.


Watch the construction of the pilot project 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the West Union live camera 

Lean more about the Green Pilot Communities 

Learn more about the West Union design 

Charles City Green Streets Project expanding 

 Charles City Permeable Streetscape 

One of the largest applications of leading-edge green street practices is underway in Charles City, Iowa. The first phase of the Charles City Permeable Streetscape project was completed in late 2010.  The project rebuilt dilapidated streets and sidewalks with an integrated system of porous pavement and parkway bioretention in a 17-block area of the city to simultaneously reduce flooding and improve water quality and infiltration.  The system includes permeable interlocking concrete unit pavers, amended soil infiltration areas, cobble infiltration areas, and alley trench grates.  Charles City has now identified six additional blocks to be retrofit in 2011 and has already received confirmation of funding assistance through the State Revolving Fund loan program.


Learn more about the project


Johnson Controls Corporate Headquarters  receives LEED Platinum 

 Johnson Controls Corporate Headquarters 

The Johnson Controls Corporate Headquarters expansion in Glendale, Wisconsin, has received LEED Platinum certification. The site renovation, led by CDF, includes rainwater harvesting and re-use, native plantings, rain gardens, and a permeable parking lot.  Conservation Design Forum performed landscape architecture and civil/water resource engineering services as part of the project team led by Gensler.


Learn more about the certification



Woodlawn Center South
under construction  

Woodlawn Center South

Woodlawn Center South is the first-phase redevelopment of the Grove Park Plaza subsidized housing complex, located in Chicago's historic Woodlawn neighborhood. The project broke ground last year, and the first building is well underway. Now that spring has arrived, site construction has resumed. The bioretention planters were poured last fall, and will be excavated and replaced by a profile of stone and soil as part of a rainwater management system that will help the site exceed Chicago's stormwater Quality and Volume requirements. The green infrastructure approach also includes permeable paving with detention in the open-graded stone underneath, and shallow, dished rain gardens and planting beds.


When complete, the site design will make rainwater a visible amenity as it moves from building downspouts into bioretention planters.  Water will percolate into soils, helping to replenish local groundwater and alleviate impact on the City's stormwater infrastructure. This approach provides an economic alternative to meeting the City's stormwater requirements, while gaining points for both the LEED for Homes and Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Green Checklist. 


Collaborative Design discussed at Vancouver's CitiesAlive 2010 Conference 

CitiesAlive 2010 Conference

In February's SkyGardens blog post "Final Reflections of Fall 2010 Greenroof Conferences: Vancouver, B.C., Part 3," Linda Velazquez discusses the highlights of the CitiesAlive 2010 conference in Vancouver last December.  Velazquez features CDF Principal Landscape Architect/Planner, David Yocca, and the Barriers and Opportunities to Advance Collaborative Design Practices panel.


Read the blog post 



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a look into our skethbooksk
Racine Urban Eco-Garden
Racine Urban Eco-Garden Concept Plan
Image credit:  Conservation Design Forum


The Racine Urban Ec0-Garden is a community demonstration project located in the City of Racine, Wisconsin.  The project is envisioned to significantly promote community-wide environmental education and interpretation through the illustration of practical urban building and site development strategies that demonstrate progressive water resource management, integrated green infrastructure, urban-scale native landscape and ecological restoration, wildlife habitat enhancement, and local food production measures. The Eco-Garden celebrates water and local plant ecology as an art form, and showcases economically viable, innovative, state-of-the-art green urban design and development strategies that involve the retrofit of existing buildings and infrastructure to improve local ecological functions.  The Eco-Garden includes a permeable parking lot, green roof, bioretention areas, rainwater harvesting and re-use, ornamental plantings, and craftsmanship from local artisans.  

Location:    Racine, Wisconsin

Client:         Racine Merchandise Mart

Team:         Conservation Design Forum, project lead; planning, landscape   

                       architecture, civil/water resource engineering

Carol Stream Recreation Center
Carol Stream Recreation Center Landscape Plan
Image credit:  Conservation Design Forum


The Carol Stream Park District is working with Williams Architects and CDF to design a new, state-of-the-art recreation center and sustainable site. The location of the proposed facility is  the currently vacant portion of Carol Stream's Town Center site, the community activity center. Integrated, green infrastructure-based rainwater management features include native vegetation, permeable interlocking concrete pavers, and bioretention swales and rain gardens. The retrofit to the site will help exceed the water quality requirements of the Countywide Stormwater and Flood Plain Ordinance and the Water Quality Best Management Practices Technical Guidance. The site features outdoor use areas and connections to the larger park, and includes a wide, gracious pedestrian plaza with unique architectural paving patterns and elevated wood walkways.


Location:    Carol Stream, Illinois

Client:         Carol Stream Park District

Team:         Conservation Design Forum, civil/water resource engineering and  

                       landscape architecture

                      Williams Architects, project lead, architecture


Washtenaw County Border to Border Trail:
River Terrace Trail
River Terrace Trail
Image credit: Conservation Design Forum

The River Terrace Trail project is one of several major segments of Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission's 35 mile Border-to-Border Trail. The basic tenet of this recreation river corridor trail system is from the 1984 Huron River Bikeway Study: to teach by experience, providing access in a way that respects the riverine environment. This trail segment provides a critical link between the completed and future trail corridor in Dexter and Ann Arbor because of a new bridge crossing over the Huron River which traverses unique natural features. Of special interest is the Dexter Huron Oak Barrens, one of ten known within the State. The rare and highly sensitive oak barrens and other ecosystems within the projects limits guided the recommended trail alignment, typical trail cross sections, rainwater management, construction access and methods.


Construction of the first 1.5 miles from the Village of Dexter to Dexter Huron Metropark is beginning in spring 2011. The final design and alignment study will also serve as a prototype to guide detail design and implementation for the remaining 3 mile segment along the HuronRiver.


Location:    Washtenaw County, Michigan

Client:         Washtenaw County, Michigan

Team:         Conservation Design Forum, civil/water resource engineering and  

                       landscape architecture

                      Pollack Design Associates, landscape architecture


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calendar of eventsca

April 11-12, 2011

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Living Architecture Regional Symposium

Washington DC

David Yocca, Principal Landscape Architect/Planner, CDF


April 13, 2011

Green Infrastructure Maintenance Conference 

Champaign, Illinois

James Patchett, President and Founder, CDF


April 20, 2011

USGBC - Illinois Chapter Advocate Healtcare Environmental Stewardship Story and Lutheran General Hospital Tour

Park Ridge, Illinois

April 28, 2011

GreenTown: The Future of Community

Elgin, Illinois

James Patchett, President and Founder, CDF; Keven Graham, Planning Resources; Terry Warriner Ryan, Jacobs/Ryan Associates


May 12-14, 2011

AIA Convention 2011

New Orleans, Louisiana

David Yocca, Principal Landscape Architect/Planner, CDF;Lucinda Sanders, The Olin Studio; Debra Guenther, Mithun


May 26-27

Environmental Design Research Association Conference

Chicago, Illinois


More events 


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