School Lined with Trees to Provide Shade and Stormwater Detention
Glenora School Case Study
Glenora Elementary School has provided education to downtown Edmonton for the past 100 years. In 2021, it was decided that the school needed a renewal of the amenities to the parking lot, sidewalks, and a general facelift to the school entryway. EDA Planning + Urban Design’s project team decided to take a more progressive step when designing the renewal and really focus on creating a cohesive stormwater management plan.
Why Use Stratavault for Stormwater Detainment?
Stratavault is the leading solution for creating ideal underground conditions for trees to grow in urban areas and was key to ensuring EDA Planning + Urban Design could deliver on its blue + green infrastructure plan. The flexibility offered by the matrix design opens up their team with the opportunity for services to be integrated within the soil vault and ensure on-site resources are used efficiently. In this project stratavault delivered in two main areas:
- The stratavault modular matrix design enables void space under highly compact urban areas such as the sidewalk and parking lot, providing high quality uncompacted soil to the tree roots. This ensures that we can control the quality of soil the tree needs while the stratavault matrix made form 100% recycled plastic takes the weight of the surrounding infrastructure away from the tree roots.
- Stormwater runoff from parking lots and rooftops is captured and detained in the stratavault soil cells, reducing the amount of water entering the city's infrastructure during high level rain events and enabling the water to be used locally by trees and soil.
Stratavault presented the project with an integrated solution that unites rooftop and parking lot stormwater management with landscape tree design. In contrast to traditional methods that channels stormwater into the city's infrastructure, reducing on-site water resources and placing extra strain on municipal systems during heavy rain events, redirecting on-site stormwater into soil vaults offers an effective means of handling the initial rush of rainfall storage.
This stored water can be utilized by the tree roots and soil and subsequently discharged into the city's systems at a later time, promoting sustainability and efficient water use as the soil and tree roots will clean the stormwater pollutants.
“The biggest value of working with soil cells, specifically the Stratavault system is their flexibility and layout. It's a fully integrated and connected system that can be cut to any shape that you want”
Principal, Landscape Architect
EDA Planning + Urban Design
How has the Stormwater been used since project completion?
Will Packolyk from EDA Planning + Urban Design observed minimal effluents being discharged from the system, which indicates how effective using a Stratavault pit is for capturing high level rain events and using the water to irrigate onsite trees is. This not only reduces the strain on the city's infrastructure by managing the initial surge of stormwater but also mitigates the risk of on-site and infrastructure flooding, all while providing a valuable source of water for the trees.
The retention of stormwater has also fostered the development of a robust tree canopy and led to a half-inch increase in tree trunk diameter during the initial two years of growth. Will's emphasised the system's efficiency in lessening the burden on the city's infrastructure, enhancing safety and overall well-being for the school community. By redirecting stormwater into a purposeful and sustainable use, such as the Stratavault tree pit, the system not only safeguards the school but also ensures that vital public spaces remain accessible and safe during severe weather events.
Is Blue Green Infrastructure the future of Stormwater Management?
The decision to use stormwater runoff to nourish the trees represents a industry shift in the way stormwater is being managed in urban landscaping developments. This synergy between stormwater management and urban forestry takes a page from nature to create a sustainable ecosystem not usually present in urban environments. Trees, with their deep-rooted capacity to absorb water, not only thrive in the conditions soil vaults create, also actively contribute to the improvement of air quality, the mitigation of the urban heat island effect through shade and evapotranspiration, and increase the overall aesthetic of the space.
The integration of the Stratavault soil vault for stormwater management has proven to be a multi-faceted success story and we believe stormwater management that uses both blue and green infrastructure is the future making it a model for sustainable urban development.
‘Stratavault is by far the easier product in this technology to worth with. It is simpler to train our staff. It allows less opportunities for mistakes, due to the simplicity of the install and the structure."
Cutting Edge Landscapes
What Trees were Planted?
Japanese Lilacs were chosen as the ideal tree species for this project due to their suitability for the Canadian climate and their numerous benefits for a school location. These trees, with their compact and sturdy nature, offer more than just shade; they have showy, fragrant blooms that will enhance the aesthetics of the school's surroundings. Additionally, their resistance to most pests and diseases makes them a low-maintenance choice, aligning perfectly with the school's commitment to sustainability.
Citygreen Urban Greening Consultants are available to sit down with you and explore how we can transform your urban space into a thriving, sustainable, and environmentally friendly environment. Whether you’re a municipality or landscape architect our team is available to design, install, and deliver better outcomes for your trees & stormwater management strategies.