Sustainable Business Network Sustainable Business Network Sustainable Business Network

Excellence in GSI Awards Ceremony: Celebrating the Triple Bottom Line

REG_GSI-Save-The-Date logo


On March 31st, we brought together the region’s GSI industry professionals, municipal employees, elected officials, and other GSI stakeholders for the Excellence in GSI Awards Ceremony. This event celebrated GSI projects in the Greater Philadelphia Area, the triple bottom line (TBL) benefits of GSI, and the partners who make these projects happen.

And the winners are…!

2016 Public Project Winner

Lea Elementary_high res


Location: Philadelphia, PA
Client: West Philly Coalition of Neighborhood Schools (WPCNS),
School District of Philadelphia (SDP)
Planning/Design Team: SALT Design Studio, Meliora Design,  International Consultants, Inc.

Construction Team: ThinkGreen, LLC
Maintenance Team: SDP and WPCNS
Monitoring Team: Philadelphia Water

Renovations to LEA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, the recipient of a PWD SMIP grant, concentrated on capturing and infiltrating stormwater, increasing tree canopy, and establishing a strong identity for Lea through a revitalized landscape.

SALT’s cost-effective design manages stormwater from the both the school yard and the public right of way, and, through a series of multi-purpose interventions, maximizes opportunities for both students and teachers for play and education.

3000 perennials, 35 shrubs, and 19 trees transform a predominantly paved school yard into a dynamically performing landscape with 4-season appeal, habitat, and low-maintenance needs.   5500 sq. ft. of porous pavers further disconnect the school yard.

Parents, students, school staff, and neighbors were engaged throughout the design process through a variety of forums.  Planting days, as well as future maintenance events, continue to engage the neighborhood and school community in greening efforts. Partnerships developed throughout the course of this project engage community members, and encourage long-term community investment in the future of the school, making the project a model for holistic planning and long-term stewardship of public schoolyards.

View the other Public Project finalists

2016 Private Project Winner

Stroud_high res


Location: Avondale, PA
Client: Stroud Water Research Center
Planning/Design Team: Andropogon Associates, BioHabitats,
Bruce E. Brooks & Associates, Meliora Design, M2 Architecture
Construction Team: Nason Construction, ThinkGreen, LLC
Monitoring Team: Stroud Water Research Center

The Stroud Water Research Center, one of the premier freshwater research institutions in the world, also supports a robust environmental education program. As such, Stroud recently expanded their campus to include the Moorhead Environmental Complex, a new LEED Platinum educational facility.

Given the focus of the Center, design goals were to “get the water right.” The stormwater BMPs were constructed as a connected system. Rain gardens overflow to an infiltration trench that overflows to additional rain gardens and is eventually dispersed to a restored meadow and woodland. Overflow from the green roof as well as from the standard roof discharges to cisterns for re-use. Paths are constructed of porous pavers. These and other systems create a living classroom for the region’s students and professionals, as well as county and state employees.

The Moorhead Environmental Complex building and surrounding site work together to meet intended integrated regenerative water goals, mitigate previous flooding and erosion issues, create research and educational opportunities, and provide passive and active outdoor gathering space.

View the other Private Project finalists

2016 Early Adopter Winner

Morris_high res


Location: 9600 Stenton Ave, Philadelphia, PA
Client: Morris Arboretum, University of Pennsylvania
Planning/Design Team: Andropogon Associates, Cahill Associates
Maintenance Team: Morris Arboretum, University of Pennsylvania

Constructed in 1987, the Morris Arboretum Demonstration Porous Parking Lot is one of the earliest and longest-lasting porous asphalt installations in the world, serving as a model and educational tool for visitors from around the world. Porous asphalt had been studied at the Franklin Institute in the late 1970s; the design of the porous lot at Morris was informed by the Franklin Institute research.

Until a few years ago, the system never discharged, even in hurricane level events, capturing and infiltrating all direct rainfall on the parking lot.  In 2015, due to some surface erosion to the pavement, the porous pavement was successfully replaced above the existing stormwater bed. The subsurface system was found to still be fully functioning, and so was left in place.

The lot has won awards for engineering and design, been featured in national publications and regional educational videos, is frequently visited by school students, university classes, engineer, architects and landscape architects, and enjoyed by almost two million visitors.

In addition to the porous parking lot, the Arboretum has, for the past thirty years, instituted practices of disconnecting or managing impervious surfaces whenever possible, including buildings, roadways, and paths.  Currently, the Arboretum manages 99% of its 5.4 acres of impervious area.

View the other Early Adopter finalists

2016 Research Winner

The Impact of GSI Installation on the Surrounding Health and Safety

Impact GSI Health and Safety

This study investigated the health and safety effects of urban green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) projects. The research team conducted a difference-in-differences analysis of the effects of GSI on health (e.g., blood pressure, cholesterol and stress levels) and safety (e.g., felonies, nuisance and property crimes, narcotics crimes) outcomes from 2000 to 2012 in Philadelphia. The team used mixed-effects regression models to compare differences in 52 sites pre- and post-GSI installment, and 186 randomly chosen, matched control sites.  Results show consistent and statistically significant reductions in narcotics possession (18%–27% less) within 16th-mile, 8th-mile, quarter-mile, and half-mile distances from the GSI sites.  Narcotics manufacture and burglaries were also significantly reduced at multiple scales.

This is the first longitudinal case-control study of the health and safety effects of green stormwater infrastructure projects to be published.  Health and safety and other social considerations should be included in future assessments of GSI programs, and subsequent research should continue to assess these impacts.

Lead Research Institution:
USDA Forest Service, Northern Field Station

Collaborating Research Institutions:
University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Research Team:
Michelle Kondo, Ph.D.
Charles Branas, Ph.D.
Jason Henning, Ph.D.
Sarah Low, MS

Study Area: Philadelphia

View the other Research finalists.

2016 Leadership Winner

Howard Neukrug

Howard Neukrug_high res

HOWARD NEUKRUG is a visionary in sustainable water management, spearheading the green stormwater infrastructure movement within Philadelphia, and leading the City to become the national model for green stormwater management that it is today.

Howard began his work with Philadelphia Water in 1978, and rose through the ranks to become Water Commissioner in 2011. From the creation of the Office of Watersheds in 1999, to the implementation of Green City, Clean Waters in 2011, Neukrug has championed GSI as a way to solve to the city’s combined sewage overflow problem and clean up rivers and streams while beautifying neighborhoods, improving quality of life for residents, and strengthening our local economy.

Green City, Clean Waters continues to be one of the most comprehensively green approaches to long-term combined sewer overflow control in existence, and Philadelphia has undergone a massive transformation as a result.  Through partnerships with other city agencies, including Parks, Streets, Public Property, Planning, and the School District, as well as numerous non-profits, GSI investments have leveraged millions in grant funding for transportation projects, park improvements, and neighborhood revitalization.  New development is more sustainable and the local economy is growing.

Howard’s vision has turned stormwater infrastructure into a “triple bottom line” investment: our communities are improved, our local green economy is bolstered, and our urban environment is more sustainable.


About the Excellence in GSI Awards


On behalf of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN), the GSI Partners are recognizing excellence in GSI in the following categories:

  1. Public Projects: Projects managed at least in part by a public agency and/or are on public property (local, city, state, federal)
  2. Private Projects: Projects managed by a private entity and/or are on private property
  3. Early Adopters: Public or Private projects 10 years or older
  4. Research in GSI: Peer-reviewed, published, and/or presented academic, non-profit, government, or private research on one or more elements of the triple bottom line performance of GSI
  5. Leadership in GSI: An individual whose work has transformed the understanding and/or use of GSI in the Greater Philadelphia region

Winning applications will highlight the triple bottom line (environmental, social, and economic) benefits of a green infrastructure approach to stormwater management. The Awards Selection Committee will take special notice of projects that report collaborative efforts.

Projects can be any age, must be completed, and located in one of the five southeastern Pennsylvania counties (Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, or Montgomery), or one of the three NJ counties adjacent to Philadelphia (Camden, Burlington, or Gloucester).

More about the Award
All finalists will be notified by e-mail and will have the opportunity to display their project poster during the Excellence in GSI Awards Ceremony’s reception.  In addition, winners will receive:

  • A Certificate of Award from the GSI Partners on behalf of The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia.
  • Region-wide media attention through multiple outlets.
  • Opportunities to present project as a case study at an upcoming GSI Partners event, which draws 60+ industry professionals from Philadelphia and surrounding counties.
  • Opportunity to be included in a GSI Precedent Library, which will be made available to a national audience.

Please contact Anna Shipp, Project Manager of the GSI Partners, with any questions: or 215.922.7400 ext. 107


About the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia
The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) is a non-profit membership organization working to build a thriving, local, and sustainable economy in the Greater Philadelphia region though advocacy, relationship-building, and education.  SBN’s members are locally-owned businesses committed to doing well through environmentally and/or socially-focused enterprises.  Through their products, services, and/or internal practices, SBN’s members exemplify how business can be a force for good.

About the Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Partners
The GSI Partners, a signature program of SBN, is a growing network of local businesses in the green stormwater infrastructure space, from engineers, landscape architects, and green roof companies, to contractors, maintenance firms, and material suppliers. Through advocacy, relationship-building, and education, we are working to advance the local GSI industry and GSI innovation, thereby amplifying the triple bottom line impact of Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters plan.  Our efforts are focused on facilitating and incentivizing GSI as much as possible and ensuring that as much of the public and private investments being catalyzed by the plan remain as local as possible.

The GSI Partners is funded by the Surdna Foundation and the William Penn Foundation as well as member contributions.


Thanks to our Gold Level Sponsor: 


Thanks to our Silver Level Sponsors:

AKRF Color Logo

Brandywine Realty Trust


Thanks to our Diamond Level Sponsors:


CRL Adjusted logo 200 x 140


Aquarius Logo 2016