Spotlight on Sustainability
Harvesting Rain, Sunshine, and Veggies
The campus gardens are well underway once again this season. There is a new addition to the garden plots at the UWM Physics Building. A 250 gallon water cistern is collecting rain water for garden use. Students designed the cistern for optimal collection off of the Physics awning. Rain water analysis of the site, maintenance requirements, and cost effectiveness were all considered for this project. A grant from the Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust made it all possible. Through the Office of Sustainability and Facility Services, the cistern was installed in the fall of 2013. Spring rains have filled the cistern and it is ready for irrigating the garden plots.
Green infrastructure continues across campus.
Two linked, 20-foot tall cisterns frame the spiral garden at the UWM Heat Plant and capture water from the roof of the power plant. One cistern is ﬁlled from a scupper drain from the power plant’s 13,000 square foot roof. The two are connected by an underground pipe and both ﬁll as one vessel. When the system is full, the second cistern overﬂows to create a celebratory water feature of cascading rainwater into a stone basin at the top of the garden. The cisterns are designed to hold a 2-year storm event, which is roughly 2 inches of rainwater on the 13,000 square foot roof. They drain slowly over a 24 hour period through a second sculptural outlet in the stone basin and into a storm drain at the base of the system. To read more about this cistern project and stormwater management to date on campus, go here.
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