Sustainable Business Network

2018 Private Project Finalists

On behalf of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN), the GSI Partners will be recognizing excellence in GSI for Private Projects. These are built projects managed in large part by private entity and/or on private property


Woodmere Art Museum

County: Philadelphia

Watershed: Wissahickon

Address: 9201 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

Planning/Design Team: NTM Engineering, Inc., Matthew Baird Architects, PLLC

Client: Woodmere Art Museum

Construction/Maintenance: Meco Constructors, Inc., Dale Corporation, Brightview, Woodmere Art Museum

Seeking to increase its parking area and create a space for outdoor sculptures, Woodmere Art Museum’s SMP does just that, while also reducing flooding and improving water quality in the Wissahickon Creek watershed. The stormwater management design at the Museum successfully disconnects 1.1 acres (1.65 greened acres) of impervious surface from the City of Philadelphia’s storm sewer system by treating runoff from large rain events, exceeding the property’s regulation requirements.

The project contributes to improving water quality in the Wissahickon Creek watershed by reducing degradation of the environment, reducing flows that contribute to channel erosion, protecting property, reducing flooding, and contributing a highly visible example of how to achieve environmentally sound land use. Both nonstructural and structural SMPs are hydraulically connected to create a system of SMPs that reduce stormwater quantity and improve water quality. The traditional impervious parking lot was converted to a pervious parking lot and expanded to allow for adequate vehicle and bus parking. An overflow parking lot was created by installing grass reinforcement matting without creating additional impervious surface. The design also took into consideration the Museum’s future growth and how to ensure that the selected GSI features fit cohesively into the property’s overall landscape.

The Woodmere Art Museum also plans to incorporate the SMPs into its existing educational programs as well as create additional programming about stormwater management elements and environmental stewardship for visitors of all ages. Informative and engaging programs, materials, and signage will educate and inspire the public to implement stormwater measures on their own properties and to rethink their engagement with their environment.  A massive water sculpture is now on display that serves as a starting point for using art to help visitors explore the relationships between the built and natural environments.


Drexel Perelman and Korman Plazas

County: Philadelphia

Watershed: Schuylkill

Address: 32nd and Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA

Planning/Design Team: Andropogon Associates, Meliora Design

Client: Drexel University

Construction/Maintenance/Monitoring: Bittenbender Construction, Mayfield Site Contractors, Drexel University, Meliora Design

Students’ university years are notable times for building connections and forging new paths for their future. Much of this growth happens on campus, providing colleges and universities a unique opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to a dynamic student culture and sustainability through the design of their built environments. The design and construction of Drexel University’s Perelman and Korman Plazas exemplify such practices, transforming what was once an impervious pedestrian pathway into a verdant junction for students, faculty, and the community to convene at the heart of campus.

Meliora Design led the removal of 8,000 square feet of impervious cover, replacing nearly 1.2 acres of existing impervious surfaces with porous pavers. The existing subsurface utilities and Septa subway line and substation present beneath the site necessitated coordinated and innovative planning between the design team, SEPTA, and the Philadelphia Water Department. Because the pervious pavers above the substation could not be considered “pervious,” the team graded the area to direct runoff into two subsurface stormwater beds below planting beds. The resulting SMP system allows runoff to both infiltrate and be slowly released into the sewer system.

Designed to improve pedestrian flow and to reintroduce nature-based features into the landscape, these two sites now provide increased shade and natural beauty while also managing stormwater. The project brought in over 120 new trees and created over 1,000 linear feet of public seating with benches and a seating area.

In 2017, the Perelman Plaza portion of the project was awarded an SBN monitoring grant to monitor the two sub-surface stormwater beds and the extent of runoff from the permeable pavers installed above the SEPTA tunnel. 


The College Settlement

County: Montgomery

Watershed: Pennypack Creek

Address: 600 Witmer Road, Horsham, PA

Planning/Design Team: MRN Environmental, Inc., Wetlands & Ecology, Inc.

Client: Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust

Construction/Maintenance/Monitoring: Berg Construction, LLC, Enviroscapes, Inc., Wetlands & Ecology, Inc., Villanova University

The College Settlement in Horsham, PA provides camp experiences that help young people develop a lifelong appreciation and respect for the environment, each other, and themselves.  As such, it is fitting that leadership at the camp would issue a call for renovations when a location on its campus was identified as a site that could protect a tributary of the Pennypack Creek from untreated stormwater runoff from a nearby 1940s subdivision.

In addition to managing stormwater runoff, the renovations addressed erosion issues and the proliferation of non-indigenous invasive plants while creating a wetland in an area that had no wetlands. The GSI has reduced the uncontrolled stormwater runoff flows to downstream areas, allowing the channels to heal and more water to infiltrate.   

The planning and design team, made up of individuals from MRNenvironmental, Inc., and Wetlands & Ecology, Inc. initiated a diverse plant community that provides campers and students the opportunity to see and experience a habitat and flora that do not exist anywhere else on the grounds.

The site will serve as an educational tool for not only the students and campers. Horsham Township and Upper Moreland Township (both provided funding for the project) intend to use this renovation to teach constituents about the benefits of nature-based solutions to stormwater management. This project demonstrates the kind of win-win outcomes that result from inventive public-private partnerships.

Winning applications will highlight the triple bottom line (environmental, social, and economic) benefits of a green infrastructure approach to stormwater management.


Click here to buy tickets to the 2018 Excellence in GSI Awards on Thursday, May 17 at FringeArts.