Biodiversity Greenwall, Edible Green Screen, and Water Harvesting Demonstration Project

Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF:

Letter of Intent:

Project Summary:
The Biodiversity Green Wall, Edible Green Screen and Water Harvesting Demonstration Project is a two-Phase project to be constructed at Gould Hall.  Phase I is a Feasibility and Design Study and Phase II is Construction and Documentation.  Phase I was awarded funding by the Campus Sustainability Fund in the summer of 2011 and will be completed by the end of the year.  This proposal is to fund Phase II, with work to be completed by August 2012. 

A student Design + Construction Team will lead the project from the design stage through construction, documentation and education and outreach.  As an integrated Demonstration Project, students will transform a blank concrete wall into a showcase of improved habitat that fosters diverse native species, innovate rainwater harvesting methods, utilize solar power for lighting and irrigation pumping, try new methods of local food production, and test green systems that will potentially reduce building heating and cooling energy demand to help the campus reduce its carbon footprint and achieve its sustainability goals.  A student-led design and construction effort, the Demonstration Project will yield numerous campus benefits as well as provide diverse  hands-on education opportunities. Successful implementation of the Demonstration Project may lay the groundwork for the construction of other green walls on campus, helping the campus achieve its multiple sustainability goals.

CSF Requirements + Preferences:
Environmental Impact
This integrated demonstration project will have positive environmental impact in numerous ways, showcasing the additive benefits of taking an integrated green infrastructure approach:

  • It is expected that the Green Wall and Green Screen will increase building performance, with the potential for long term energy and cost savings with reduction in heating/cooling energy demands
  • The Biodiversity Green Wall, populated with native vegetation, will provide native habitat for plants, insects and birds.
  • The Edible Green Screen will investigate the potential for using vertical surfaces to produce local food.
  • Water harvesting for irrigation use will reduce potable water consumption and remove water from the waste stream by reusing it through irrigation.  The process will also cleanse pollutants through phytoremediation by plant material, thereby addressing water quality and quantity issues.
  • The Demonstration Project will examine the role of aesthetics in promoting sustainability.  When people are excited about green technologies they are more likely to adopt sustainable practices themselves.  When campus departments become interested in green technologies, they are more likely to implement them in other places around campus.
  • The Demonstration Project will also contribute to noise pollution absorption, air quality and carbon sequestration, and urban heat island reduction.
  • The use of low energy LED lighting will demonstrate the viability of new photovoltaic solutions in reducing energy use, while also improving safety within the Varey Garden and at the adjacent bus stop at night.
  • The Demonstration Project will address several aspects of sustainability outlined in the UW Climate Action Plan including water recycling, sustainable land use planning, sustainable and local food production, energy and carbon footprint reduction and UW green marketing and branding efforts.
  • The Demonstration Project will address the criteria of the CPO SustainAbilities Scorecard.
  • Because the Green Futures Lab overlooks the Demonstration Project, the project will be a direct connection to this valuable campus resource.  Additionally, the project will highlight the expertise of multiple campus departments and offices, cross pollinating environmental design knowledge on campus.

Student Involvement

  • Phase I of the Demonstration Project was entirely student-led.  Students have already logged over 650 hours of design and coordination efforts.
  • Phase II will potentially provide 3-5 paid student jobs and 10-15 student volunteer jobs, providing an estimated 600 hours of student work.
  • Because of liability reasons, students will work directly with a contractor and Capital Projects-appointed PM for Green Wall installation, however students will have the opportunity to fabricate and construct the Green Screen as well as install Green Wall plants.
  • The Student Design Team will document construction (potentially in a time-laps video/photos), design, construct and install educational signage, lead student workshops, present in applicable classes, and monitor and disseminate project results.
  • Students will develop skills in project management, construction, campus coordination, maintenance, research, and leadership of their peers, UW staff and a contractor.
  • Students will build their personal portfolios and increase their post-college job marketability by having been involved in a sizeable installation- from project inception and grant writing to construction and monitoring.

Education + Outreach

  • The project is housed at Gould Hall in the Varey Garden and will be visible from 15th as well as the bus stop in front of Gould Hall.  The Varey Garden is an already beloved public garden and the Demonstration Project will help to further activate the space.
  • The College of Built Environments houses over 700 students and 185 faculty/staff in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Construction Management- all disciplines that would directly benefit from the educational and research components of the Demonstration Project. Because of its ecological and stormwater benefits, the Demonstration Project also has the potential to appeal to the Engineering Departments as well as the College of the Environment.
  • With its close proximity to main campus and Schmitz Hall, the Demonstration Project has the potential to be a stopping point along guided Campus Tours, reaching out to prospective students as well as demonstrating UW’s commitment to sustainability.
  • Students will have the opportunity to research and monitor the Demonstration Project.  Temperature sensors will be installed on both sides of the green wall to test building performance and water gauges will be built into the irrigation system to measure water use.  Students will perform species counts (plants, animals and insects) and plant growth will be documented + monitored.  Because the Demonstration Project is within view of the Green Futures Lab, students will also have the opportunity to measure human use.
  • The Phase I Feasibility and Design document as well as the construction documents will be published online and available in the Green Futures Lab.  Documentation of construction (potentially in a time-laps video/photos) as well as future?? monitoring outcomes [as part of Phase II] will also be published online through the Green Futures Lab.
  • Students will also have the option to present their findings and designs in various university courses such as LARCH 498: Soils and Hydrology, ARCH 532: Sustainable Construction Materials, CM 313: Construction Methods and Materials, and other applicable engineering, horticulture or ESRM courses.  The Demonstration Project also has the potential to be a living lab for design studios, inspiring further design ideas.
  • Post construction, students will be invited to conduct research on the walls and water harvesting systems and to co-publish and present this research in courses, conferences, and academic publications. Potential opportunities for publicizing in local print include the UW Daily, UW Today e-newsletter, and the UW Botanic Gardens e-newsletter.
  • Because the Demonstration Project is a highly public "green" structure, it could appeal to professional publications or blog entries for the Cascadia Green Building Council, American Society of Landscape Architecture, American Institute of Architects, and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.
  • Students will present the project at a Green Infrastructure Partnership monthly meeting as well as the Washington ASLA Committee on the Environment monthly meeting.
  • Students will present the project at next year’s Sustainability Fair + Summit  and posters will be available for display within the CSF office.
  • Because of its online documentation, the Demonstration Project has the potential to be a role model for other Design Colleges and Universities across the country as a showcase of sustainability and a display of integrated inter-disciplinary student work.
  • Additionally, interpretive signage will provide passive educational opportunities for visitors to the walls in the Gould Hall Varey Garden.
  • The Demonstration Project aligns with the goals of the College of Built Environment to integrate sustainability for a “tangible improvement of built and natural environments.”  Because both its design process and physical product breaks disciplinary boundaries, the Demonstration Project displays the “strong interest in interdisciplinary exchange” within the College.

Feasibility, Sustainability + Accountability

  • In Phase I, students coordinated with over 19 faculty and staff on campus to determine project feasibility and develop partnerships for long term maintenance and sustainability.
  • Students presented the Demonstration Project to the Campus Design Review Board in September 2011 and will potentially present the project again for feedback at the University Landscape Advisory Committee or Design Review Board meetings in December.
  • Since the project is housed at the College of Built Environments, students coordinated a design session with the CBE Dean, CBE Department Chairs, and Varey Garden designer to get design and technical feedback, gain project momentum, and align the design with the goals of the College.
  • UW Farm and UW Grounds and Maintenance expressed their excitement about the project and verbally agreed to be a part of long term maintenance.  More defined commitments will be coordinated at the end of Phase I.
  • The student lead on the project is a licensed Landscape Architect and has several years experience of overseeing landscape construction projects.  She will work directly with the CPO-appointed Project Manager to assure the schedule and timeline of construction is reasonable and accurate.  The GFL Director is also a licensed Landscape Architect and will continue to provide leadership and advising for the student team.
  • The Green Futures Lab  (GFL) has an impressive project portfolio, attesting to the capability of the unit.  The GFL is well respected in the design field and has a strong relationship to design professionals and academics. Following construction, the GFL will ensure the Demonstration Project has the faculty guidance and student stewardship needed to sustain the full life of the living structures.

Estimate of Project Budget:

We are requesting $80,000 from CSF to complete Phase II of the Biodiversity Green Wall, Edible Green Screen and Water Harvesting Demonstration Project.  We estimate the total project cost to be about $115,000 and anticipate receiving 30% in match funds.

The Green Futures Lab has committed to contributing $2,000 towards the project and students are currently in dialogue with the College of Built Environments, Capital Projects, Services and Activities Fee and UW Grounds and Maintenance for potential further teaming.

This cost includes construction + maintenance materials and installation as well as student management, installation, documentation and monitoring hours.  See the ‘student involvement’ section for more details about student roles in the project.  A detailed cost estimate will be provided for the full proposal.


Current Design:
Please see the following pages for renderings of the current design.  

Daytime rendering of Green Wall + Green Screen Demonstration Project

Nighttime rendering of Green Wall + Green Screen Demonstration Project

The Demonstration Project will incorporate Water Harvesting as well as Solar Panels to power irrigation pumps and lighting elements. Location options are below.

Preliminary Construction Drawings of the Demonstration project:

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Leann Andrews