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Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill Features Many Green Components

It's National Drinking Water Week, and, this week KSMU is bringing you a series of stories on the new Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill. In this segment, Michele Skalicky tells us about some of the eco-friendly aspects of the project.

Tuesday we told you about the new 10,000 square foot building that's planned for the Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill—it's a building that will have many green features and will be LEED certified. But it's not the only part of the Watershed Center that showcases eco-friendly practices.

The parking lots and roads are made of pervious concrete that allows rain water to seep thru to the ground below rather than running off.

And a building that's finished at the site, a parks maintenance building that houses the Springfield-Greene County Park Board's Outdoor Initiatives Program Office, has a vegetative green roof and living wall. Plants are planted in the walls to catch runoff. It has zoned heating and cooling systems, motion-sensitive lighting and compensating lighting; florescent lights come on only when they're needed.

The roof looks like a garden. It's covered with soil and is planted with lots of plants that don't have very aggressive root systems. Loring Bullard, executive director of the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, says there's a vapor barrier on the roof that keeps it from leaking.

According to Bullard, ultra urban areas are utilizing green roofs more and more often. He says, in areas where there's no room for a detention basin, the roof serves that purpose.

He compares buildings that have green roofs to the old sod houses on the prairie. They stayed cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Springfield is seeing more green roofs being constructed. The new Green Circle Shopping Center on S. National has a green roof as does the Discovery Center's new addition. And he says the idea is quickly catching on. Another advantage of green roofs, he says, is that the transpiration of water from the plants helps cool a building.

Tomorrow at 4:30, learn about rain gardens. There's one at the Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill. To find out more about the site, go to

For KSMU News, I'm Michele Skalicky.


  • Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill