Green Spotlight


City of Houston Kendall Library and Community Center

LEED Silver Certified and the first City of Houston project to use extensive rainwater reclamation

The site of the City of Houston Kendall Library and Community Center is in a 100-year flood plain. The site had minimal square footage to meet even the basic programming requirements of the client, but the odd geometric shape and position rendered much of the site unusable and was destined to be home to a building much larger than should be accommodated, with not enough room for parking. When English + Associates initially began work, the City had overlooked the detention requirements for water. The City wanted to create a building that was bigger than the site could accommodate using conventional site planning and storm water management practices. A large area would have been dedicated to on-site surface detention, removing much needed parking, and thereby reducing the allowable size of the building. To provide a building that met the client’s size requirements and adequate parking, it required an integrated storm water management system including detention under the parking surface. Lessons learned from a similar project informed us of an improved system that included all of the required detention and 42,600 gallons of retained rainwater to be used for irrigation by increasing the depth of the underground system by approximately one foot. By incorporating these Low Impact Development site plan modifications, E+A was able to accommodate all of the requested programming and parking as requirements requested by the client.



English + Associates was able to place a below-ground system for water control, while maximizing parking. Water lands on the roofing, paving, and landscaping, and flows into swales, bioswales, inlets, sloped paving, and roof drains. The parking area slopes toward two separate bioswale infiltration beds that naturally filter pollutants from rainwater, thus reducing the amount of contamination entering the city storm system and nearby waterways. Rainwater passes through the vegetated bioswales, which extends the amount of time that the water is held on site and into a modular underground rain tank system that can accommodate up to 325,000 gallons of rainwater, of which 42,600 gallons is retained for irrigation. The remaining 282,400 gallons are detained in order to minimize immediate flash flooding in adjacent streets. The rain tanks replace the code-mandated above-ground detention pond and provide landscape irrigation water when necessary, eliminating the need for potable water used to irrigate the native plants on site.



For additional information on Kendall Library and Community Center, please visit the project page.