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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 81.30
Liaison Rich Miller
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
OP-23: Rainwater Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Sarah Munro
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Policy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Which of the following best describes the institution’s approach to rainwater management?:
Comprehensive policies, plans or guidelines that require LID practices for all new projects

A brief description of the institution’s green infrastructure and LID practices:

Over the summer of 2016, UConn updated an existing policy to require all building construction or renovation projects whose cost exceeds $5 million to be LEED Certified Gold (the previous requirement was LEED Silver). LEED Design almost always includes extensive LID and green infrastructure features; UConn currently has 23 certified LEED buildings. For example, the Oak Hall building, which is LEED Gold certified, includes UConn’s first rainwater harvesting system for irrigation of plants and lawn areas. Two 25,000 gallon tanks beneath the building collect roof runoff and intercept underlying groundwater, protecting the University’s investment in landscaping by using this non-potable water to keep the core campus green.

Over 400,000 square feet of campus area are covered using LID practices. The cumulative annual volume of storm water reduction by campus LID practices is equal to 65 Olympic swimming pools or 9.25 football fields.

In addition to the new LEED policy, UConn has been committed to installing low impact design (LID) stormwater management features for several years, not only as part of new construction projects but also as retrofits and demonstration projects at older building sites. On the main campus, UConn has more than 20 engineered rain gardens and bio retention swales, three green roofs, the first large-scale porous concrete and permeable asphalt parking lots in Connecticut, two terraces constructed with porous landscape pavers, and interlocking brick pavers used for the snow shelf along Hillside Road on campus. A large underground infiltration chamber and rainwater harvesting system have been constructed for capturing roof runoff and intercepting ground water for irrigation purposes.

From Uconn’s Sustainability Framework Plan, “Area of Focus: Water” (http://ecohusky.uconn.edu/docs/development/Sustainability%20Framework%20Plan.pdf)

• Greywater or stormwater reuse systems will mitigate potable water use for sewage conveyance, irrigation, cooling tower makeup, or fire protection. UConn has an existing water reclamation facility which can process up to one million gallons of non-potable water for cooling and irrigation each day.
• In the next ten years, it is recommended that UConn analyze the potential for rainwater as a resource to be harvested.
• A Water Supply Emergency Contingency Plan has been developed by the University and is intended to reduce impact on local rivers, especially the Fenton River, which provides water to UConn’s well fields
• More LID and green infrastructure strategies with need to be implemented as development progresses, including green roofs, trees and tree boxes, rain gardens, vegetated swales, infiltration planters, pocket wetlands, vegetated median strips, reforestation, protection and enhancement of riparian buffers, permeable pavement, rain barrels, and cisterns.

From UConn's 2004 Sustainable Development Guidelines:
"Goal-1 Reduce development stormwater runoff impacts on the quantity and quality of the area’s water resources.

• Prevent any increase in the rate of stormwater flow leaving the site. Provide for infiltration of stormwater runoff on both greenfield and previously disturbed sites.
• Strategies for implementing both of these goals include:
• Promoting permeable paving technologies in lieu of the conventional impervious surfaces for drives and parking lots. Perform a life-cycle cost analysis that recognizes the long-term maintenance costs with the resulting benefits when choosing the appropriate system.
• Collecting rainwater from project roofs, where feasible, and store it for reuse or slow release.
• Implement landscaping that has a higher rate of absorption than conventional turf grass.
• Reducing the need for stormwater utilities and detention basins. Introduce stormwater bio-retention basins, swales, or rain gardens within the project site or within the adjacent campus or clusters of buildings.
• Using a vegetated roof for flat or low sloping roofs.
• Incorporate on-site stormwater treatment and infiltration to meet the guidelines of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Connecticut Stormwater Quality Manual, 2003. Strategies for consideration, in order of preference, for implementing this goal include:
• Incorporating bio-retention areas, rain gardens, vegetated basins, vegetated swales, constructed wetlands, etc. on site to treat stormwater.
• Including on-site mechanical filtration systems to treat stormwater to meet the standards as defined in the manual.”

A copy of the institution’s rainwater management policy, plan, and/or guidelines:

A brief description of the institution’s rainwater management policy, plan, and/or guidelines that supports the responses above:

UConn has used LID principles to improve and construct flood and water quality enhancements on the main campus. A Memorandum of Understanding with the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was recently finalized to establish a drainage plan that quantifies the environmental benefits of LID features currently installed on campus as well as for the implementation of future LID measures.
Over the summer of 2016, UConn updated an existing policy to require all building construction or renovation projects whose cost exceeds $5 million to be LEED Certified Gold (the previous requirement was LEED Silver). LEED Design includes extensive LID and green infrastructure features; UConn currently has 23 certified LEED buildings.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.