Tag low impact design

Innovative Stormwater Solution Helps Maximize Useable Land


pervious paver installation

pervious paver installation

Today’s stormwater regulations often create a dilemma for smaller projects. Sites between 0.5 – 2 acres have trouble maximizing buildable area with standard stormwater practices.   Once vehicular and pedestrian access, required parking, buffers, setbacks, grand trees, and retention ponds are taken into account many projects are only left with around 25% of the site for vertical construction.   This can render projects economically unfeasible with current land values.   How can developers meet or exceed their bottom line in these situations?  Here is an example where innovative stormwater infrastructure substantially increased usable area for vertical construction.

Brickyard Business Park is a 0.7 acre commercial project being developed by S.L. Shaw and Associates.   In the initial planning stages we studied the projects stormwater options and found that an infiltration system would increase the usable area for vertical construction from 0.25 acres to 0.35 acres which meant significantly more square footage for build-out.   We were able to meet stormwater requirements without a retention pond by utilizing the permeability of existing soils with a pervious paver system in vehicular areas.

Once the project was bid, we compared the costs for the pervious paver system versus the standard asphalt system and determined that the more innovative pervious paver stormwater management solution was 2.5 times more expensive; however, this only accounted for a $50,000 increase in construction cost.  The client decided to go with the new technology, which  not only enhanced the sustainable design aspect of the project but increased the amount of space available for sale by 40%.

Bragging Rights

Meredith Bearden, LEED® AP
Land Planner

Although I have only been at SeamonWhiteside+Associates for nearly three years now, I stand honored and privileged to be a part of such a reputable firm and what I know as my home away from home.  Since establishment in 1985, SW+A has provided services such as Land Planning, Civil Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Permit Coordination, and Construction Administration.  With projects ranging in size from one acre to 4,500 acres, I have been lucky to have taken part in a number of project types such as residential, planned developments, commercial, parks & recreation, public works, schools, urban design, and due diligence.  It is pretty amazing to have on record that SW+A has not only designed over 25,000 residential units equating to housing over 60,000 people, but in twenty-four years, we have also engineered more than one million linear feet of water and sewer lines! As history continues to be made, even in these trying times, we continue to hunker down, keep our spirits up, and get the job done right.

While we remain encouraged and committed to keeping up with the evolving technologies in our field, we continue to be ambitious in our goals of professional development.  With offices in Mount Pleasant and Greenville totaling to 51 employees, we have a total of 9 Professional Engineers, 12 Registered Landscape Architects, 10 LEED® AP Civil Engineers including three PEs (40% of civil staff), and 9 LEED® AP Landscape Architects including five RLAs (50% of LA staff). This leaves us with 21 registered personnel and 44% LEED Accredited Professional staff! Times are always changing and as this firm evolves with new studios, new designs, and new ideas, we hold true to the people we are and the services we provide.  I am proud to be part a part of this journey, this firm, and this family, and that is something to brag about!

Stuart Whiteside Interviews with SC Business Review


Stuart Whiteside

Stuart Whiteside

Stuart Whiteside, Vice President of Seamon Whiteside + Associates was chosen to interview with Mike Switzer, host of South Carolina Business Review; a radio program on SC ETV Radio.The interview was broadcast on Thursday, September 4, 2008.

Stuart spoke with Mike about SW+A’s role in the sustainable design movement and how green design practices are carried out in civil engineering and landscape architecture. Seamon Whiteside + Associates is proud to say that we have LEED accredited professionals in both our civil engineering and landscape architecture departments. As the green design movement has found its place in South Carolina development, SW+A has undertaken a program of continuing education and participation in organizations that support sustainable design practices.

In the area of civil engineering, a visible and successful way to incorporate green design into land development is to integrate low impact stormwater management design. Low impact stormwater management such as using vegetated swales to capture and naturally filter stormwater runoff is a responsible and effective way to handle stormwater and reduce possible groundwater pollutants. Creative engineering solutions work to blend the desired environmental safeguards with the goals of the development and do so in a cost conscious manner.

The same is true for the sustainable approach to landscape architectural design. Using native and drought resistant plants, adding trees and shrubs specifically into areas such as parking lots, and street medians to reduce heat islands and therefore the need for extensive irrigation, and incorporating stormwater runoff as natural irrigation are ways that landscape architecture works to reduce environmental impacts and incorporate sustainability into the design.

Stuart also discussed the movement to look at urban planning from a regional standpoint instead of through a hodgepodge of neighborhood, city/town and municipal regulations that often are in opposition to one another. Together with the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Stuart and other members of the land design community are working with the Charleston area regulatory commissions to align planning guidelines into a regional view. The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments has a program, Our Region, Our Plan that focuses on this method of urban planning. More information about the movement to plan regionally is available these organizations websites.

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