Improving our Environment with Living Infrastructures
Green Infrastructures are built with nature in mind to improve our environment and quality of life while adapting to the constant changes in the weather and climate. The main focus of green infrastructure is stormwater management through filtration, infiltration, detention and retention systems. Incorporating these systems is easy to do to any existing infrastructure or landscape.
Green Infrastructure vs Gray Infrastructure
Green and Gray Infrastructures are both designed to address stormwater runoff and require regular maintenance, but there are some differences in how they are constructed and how they operate. In most cases these two systems work together to effectively manage, treat and conserve water.
Green Infrastructure - Uses Soil and Vegetation to filter and absorb stormwater runoff.
Gray Infrastructure - Engineered systems of pipes and tanks to treat and move stormwater runoff.
Green Infrastructure uses soil and vegetation to sink, slow, reuse, or move stormwater runoff. The runoff can be filtered runoff before it is collected in gray infrastructure systems, infiltrate the ground, or recirculated to irrigation systems. Green Infrastructure can increase property value, reduce energy use, improve air quality, and prevent costly environmental clean-ups.
Gray infrastructure is the traditional way to manage stormwater and treat wastewater. This engineered system of pipes and sewers collectively move water to another location such as a water treatment plant or detention basin. This works as long as there isn’t too much water to move for example after a storm. A main break in the pipes or sewage overflow will spread collected water contaminated with human and commercial waste, chemicals, pesticides, gas and oil from the roads, etc. all over the neighborhood.
Examples of Green Infrastructure:
• Downspout Disconnection
• Rainwater Harvesting
• Rain Gardens
• Planter Boxes
• Permeable Pavements
• Green Alleys and Streets
• Green Parking
• Green Roofs
• Urban Tree Canopy
• Land Conservation
Examples of Gray Infrastructure:
• Storm Sewers
• Detention basins
• Water treatment plant
• Inflatable dams
• Storm water gate
Green Infrastructure Functionality
use mediums such as compost, gravel, sand or biological systems to filter stormwater runoff before it’s infiltrated into the ground, flows to a detention or retention system, such as the sewer. Filtration Systems are can be achieved through swales, bioswales, and planters. A popular solution on urban city streets.
collect and hold stormwater runoff for slow infiltration into the ground. This can be achieved through ditches, ponds, and trenches. They can typically be found in areas like parking lots, sidewalks and side-roads.
collect stormwater runoff in lined ponds and reduces flash flooding by slowly releasing the water into the nearest stream or water treatment facility. Dry detention basins drain completely, wet and storm marsh detention basins have wetland plants and allow sediments to settle in a permanent pool of water.
collect and hold a specified amount of water indefinitely in an artificial lake surrounded by vegetation. If the water exceeds that level it is drained to another location. Retention systems are also known as wet ponds or wet detention basins.
Landscaping Systems for Green Infrastructure
Rain Gardens can be an infiltration or filtration system. The water can be absorbed into the ground or designed to work with another system that moves the stormwater. These are often seen in parking lots, on residential properties, and commercial buildings.
Planters are a small scale detention system that relies on the plants absorbing the water in a process called evapotranspiration. Often located outside commercial structures or residential property.
Bioswales or swales use a combination of vegetation and/or medium filtration and retention systems to collect stormwater and filter it before it is released into the sewer system or a nearby stream. Typically located on streets and roadsides.
Hardscape Systems for Green Infrastructure
Permeable Pavements reduce stormwater runoff through an infiltration system made of porous concrete. A pervious concrete mixture allows the water to seep into the ground.
Overflow inlets/outlets help manage the flow of stormwater in and out of different stormwater management systems. Outlets manage the flow of water into water treatment facilities.
Perforated Pipes commonly installed in french drain systems collect and move stormwater runoff through a pipe with small holes installed in a trench in the ground with gravel to manage flow and filtration.
Building Systems for Green Infrastructure
Green Roofs are filtration systems made of vegetation and growing medium planted on a roof that may consist of a drainage and irrigation system.
Green Walls are filtration systems made of vegetation and growing medium planted on the outer walls of buildings.
Water Conservation Systems for Green Infrastructure
Gray Water Harvesting reuses the water from the laundry, as well as the bathroom and kitchen sink. The water is pretreated and recirculated to planters, or an irrigation system.
Rain Water Harvesting collects rainwater for reuse to water garden, to give to livestock, for irrigation and more. Proper treatment of rainwater allows for domestic uses.
Downspout Disconnection reroutes drainage pipes from the roof to permeable areas, rain barrels or cisterns to prevent stormwater runoff flowing into the streets or into a building’s foundation.
Liners for Green Infrastructure
EPDM ♦ HDPE ♦ LDPE ♦ LLDPE ♦ MDPE ♦ PP ♦ PE ♦ PVC
Woven & Non-Woven Coated
Americover is the source for all your Go Green projects. Green Infrastructure applications require geomembranes and geotextiles, to collect, contain and filter stormwater. Commercial applications may require a certain mil thickness, certifications of ASTM standards or specific materials such as Mirafi, EnviroLiner, and XR5. We can provide you with any geomembrane or geotextile liner you need for your project, examples include HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE, MDPE, PVC, EPDM, Polypropylene, woven coated and non-woven coated.
Types of Liners used in Green Infrastructure
Impermeable Liners or Geomembranes
Green Infrastructure applications such as rain gardens, permeable pavements, and sales may require a geomembrane or an impermeable membrane to help collect and contain water until it can be redirected to another system. Since impermeable liners don’t let any fluids pass through, they work perfect in these storm water management systems.
Filter Fabrics or Geotextiles
Filter fabrics are required in most Green Infrastructure projects. Filter fabrics are either woven or non-woven, non-biodegradable geotextiles installed to hold soil in place and prevent small debris from building up in the drainage layer.
Applications that require waterproofing membranes, can often refer to a liquid membrane that is painted on a surface to make it impermeable. Unfortunately we do not provide liquid membranes. However we do carry waterproof vapor barriers that meet and exceed ASTM standards for vapor transmission.
Concrete Curing Blankets
Permeable pavements require concrete curing blankets to inhibit moisture loss and maintain hydration during the curing process.