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Springfield Developers Start Thinking "Green"

"Green" rooftops and earth-friendly construction are leading the way in new construction and design. Construction crews are taking on new projects that help save energy costs and protect the environment. But buildings aren’t the only place for green thinking. KSMU’s Erika Brame spoke with the James River Basin Partnership about green development in Springfield.

Springfield City Council heard testimony two weeks ago about the possibility of a new development off Highway 60 and 65.

The plans for this development are currently under review by council.

One word at that meeting highlighted a major goal for this development project, “low impact.”

Tiffany Frey works for the James River Basin Partnership.

She is working with the Highway 60 and 65 development and says low impact development is the biggest goal for this project.

So what does low impact mean?

Frey says it’s a development and planning idea that focuses on the topography of the land and its natural rain water run off.

“What we look at is low impact development. Which means any development is going to have some impact but the goal would be to lessen the amount of impact possible. So it would be the idea of looking at the land and instead of first deciding the building and then choosing the land. You’d look at the land and then decide the building,” she said.

Frey says this type of development prevents rain water from running off and polluting surface waters.

“We create our own problems by causing it to run off so quickly and when the water runs over the land it picks up grease, oil, bacteria, break dust, anything. Water is like a magnet so anything the water crosses over picks up and takes with it. And with our storm drains, this another really common misconception, our storm drains to not go to the waste water treatment plant,” she said.

Since these storm drains don’t treat the water before it hits the rivers and lakes this type of development will retain more water on site to be filtered through the ground before it runs into the water system.

Frey says several locations in town such as the Green Circle Shopping Center on Republic Road have already implemented some of the principles of low impact development.

She says it is important for future growth in Springfield to follow this model which will help prevent flooding and pollution of water resources.

For KSMU News, I’m Erika Brame.