New Orleans Redevelopment Authority manages stormwater sustainably | U.S. Green Building Council

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Published on
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Posted in Community
Published on
Written by
Posted in Community

The new stormwater management site shows the effectiveness of green infrastructure.

Water conservation is an important aspect of the built environment. Very little of the Earth’s water can be used for human consumption (the rest is saltwater or trapped in the polar ice caps), and of that, around 12 percent is used by buildings.

The Water Efficiency credit category in LEED v4.1 explores the approaches to consider for indoor, outdoor and specialized uses, as well as metering. By using an efficiency-first approach, projects are requested to first pursue water use reduction strategies and then to consider nonpotable and alternative sources of water.

An example of a similar strategy by a regional agency in New Orleans, Louisiana, is outlined below.

Revitalizing New Orleans through green infrastructure

The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) plays a pivotal role in the revitalization of the city through its residential development, commercial revitalization and land stewardship initiatives. Now in its 50th year, NORA continues to support the community by returning vacant and blighted properties to the market and supporting equitable residential and commercial developments. Since 2005, and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, NORA has also played a key role in the city’s recovery.

NORA Green is a program launched to support green infrastructure projects throughout the community. This program invests in community parks, urban forests, alternative landscaping sites and stormwater management projects to create a sustainable impact on the community.

Case in point: Stormwater management in Central City

Recently, NORA completed a stormwater management site on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in Central City. This project manages stormwater by redirecting runoff from the street and catch basin into a forebay and energy dissipator tied to a multilevel rain garden.

Within the rain garden, native plants such as Louisiana Irises, Nuttall Oak and Bald Cypress trees thrive in wet environments. A variety of permeable hardscapes allow for rain to infiltrate other areas of the site. The site also features informational signs, as well as an aboveground pipe diagram that illustrates the process of how stormwater goes from collection in underdrains, through the city’s drainage system, and finally into Lake Pontchartrain.

The site serves as a living and learning environment for the community, while also reducing the burden of stormwater runoff on the city’s pumping system. This project is the 10th installment of a sustainable stormwater management system in New Orleans through the NORA Green program.

Together, these sites can detain up to 209,960 gallons of stormwater every time it rains—and at the same time, educate neighborhood residents about unique landscaping materials and installations that promote stormwater infiltration and retention.

Learn more about water efficiency in LEED v4.1