Design Principles and Case Study Analysis for Low Impact Development Practices - Green Roofs, Rainwater Harvesting and Vegetated Swales

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Virginia Tech


This thesis on Low Impact Development (LID) Practices provides design guidelines and principles for three important LID practices: green roofs, rainwater harvesting and bioswales. The most important component of the thesis is the qualitative analysis of various case studies based on the LID objectives drawn from the literature review for each LID practice.

Through the course of my research, I found that there was no one single source which provided information on the design guidelines accompanied by case examples which could help the designer with built examples where the LID practices have been executed. Therefore, developing this thesis document which provided all this information started as my masters thesis project. The document is designed to be used by people with a variety of expertise like landscape architects, landscape contractors, engineers and clients.

The manual is organized into five chapters. The manual details the process of stormwater management and then gradually leads to the evolution of Low Impact Development Practices and detailing out three important LID practices: green roofs, rainwater harvesting, vegetated swales and briefly about infiltration systems. The LID principles outlined in this manual were developed over the last few years to address runoff issues associated with the new residential, commercial and industrial suburban developments. Information to develop this manual has been drawn from numerous sources like the Low Impact Design Strategies developed by the Prince George's County, Maryland, US EPA, Low Impact Development urban design tools and numerous other research papers.

It is my hope that the manual will provide adequate information to its users by not only providing design guidelines but also provide built examples through the case studies.



rainwater harvesting, green roofs, swales., Stormwater management, water-efficient design