National experts will convene in Concord, N.H., Dec. 3-4, 2008, to present the latest innovations on low impact development methods—methods for developing land in ways that allow stormwater to be retained, infiltrated, or reused on site. The conference, co-sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will be held at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord and is open to the public.
Use of low impact development practices such as pervious pavements, rain gardens, and green roofs has increased dramatically in the last decade around the country. These techniques can save developers substantial amounts of money while also helping to protect rivers, lakes, and drinking water resources. Savings are generally due to reduced costs for site grading and preparation, stormwater infrastructure, site paving, and landscaping. A new national EPA study found that development projects that include these practices often achieve significant cost savings.
"EPA has looked carefully at low impact development, and it’s remarkable that the vast majority of projects are able to save between 15 and 80 percent—while making choices that were better for the environment," said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.
Some low impact development practices such as pervious pavement have been used successfully at a number of sites in New England, including at hospitals in New London, N.H., and York, Maine, a shopping center in Amherst, N.H., and at a new park and ride lot in Randolph, Vt.
"Low impact development is a way for developers and builders to achieve a competitive edge in the current market, while helping the environment at the same time" said Glynn Rountree, an environmental policy analyst with the National Home Builders Association who will be speaking at the conference.
Some developers and engineers in Northern New England have been hesitant to use these techniques for fear they may not work well in cold climates. This topic is one that will be given significant attention at the conference. The University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center has been evaluating the effectiveness of a variety of stormwater practices at a specially designed field site in Durham for the last five years. "Our findings are indicating that developers and engineers are missing a real opportunity here," said Robert Roseen, Ph.D., director of the Stormwater Center. "We are finding that many of the low impact development practices are actually out-performing the conventional systems on a consistent basis, even in the middle of the winter."
In addition to presentations on the latest research findings, the conference will include a tour of the UNH Stormwater Center, workshops on low impact development design, case studies of successful low impact development projects in Northern New England, and a vendor fair featuring low impact development technologies and services.