GVA's Sustainable Energy Initative demonstrates that older historic buildings, like Welkinweir, can become sustainable designs. We have reduced our overall carbon footprint by 85% in eleven years through a varity of approaches. The historic estate house now features a microgrid fully capable of operating independently of the power grid indefinitely through a combination of integrated solar PV panels and a micro-hydro system on an exisitng farm pond. The initiative was funded by the Sustainable Development Fund, PA DEP Energy Harvest, and the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Read more about sustainability and Historic Preservation National Trust for Historic Preservation
Showing a commitment to the environment through sustainable practices, Green Valleys Association at Welkinweir installed a porous pavement parking lot, coupled with adjoining bioretention areas and infiltration trenches. While the main entry road is composed of standard pavement, the parking bays are porous pavement. Without the use of curbs and gutters, stormwater is directed towards the parking lot bays where it percolates into a subsurface storage bed, which stores water and controls discharge rates during storm events.
The porous pavement was kept as level as possible to absorb a maximum amount of water from adjoining areas. Water that is not able to percolate fast enough into the subsurface storage bed will flow into the two bioretention areas that front the porous pavement bays. Native plants were planted in the bioretention areas and in other parts of the landscaping. Native plants help purify stormwater affected by nonpoint source pollution consisting of brake dust, oil, antifreeze and other pollutants generated by automobiles. Native plants’ long roots not only absorb more pollutants than regular traditional planted sod, but they also soak in and consume more water to reduce flooding.
The native plants have provided food and shelter for endemic animal species, including painted turtles, various frogs and toads, red-winged blackbirds, cedar waxwings, and robins. The project contributes to GVA’s goal of obtaining zero percent runoff from the site, even during the 100-year storm.
Read the full story at Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative