B.C.R. Final Posters

Below are our group’s finished posters. Each one describes the Brooklyn College Rainways project in its own unique way, so we hope you look at and enjoy both of them. Please feel free to Comment any questions, and we’ll do our best to respond ASAP.

Primary poster for Brooklyn College Rainways.


Secondary poster for Brooklyn College Rainways.


BC Rainways Project Summary (FINAL DRAFT)

Our group has divided our project into several main aspects. The first aspect involves the installation of two drainage pipes on the eastern-most side of Whitehead Hall that will lead rainwater down into a series of rainwater storage barrels. The liquid stored in these rain barrels will be used to water a rain garden that will be planted just a few feet from the barrels in the grass patch outside of Whitehead Hall.

The second aspect of our project involves the addition of 18-inch metal pinwheels to the side of Whitehead Hall. These pinwheels will be in the pathways of the downspouts. As water flows down the building, it will spin the pinwheels, which will in turn spin small motors on the side of Whitehead Hall. These motors will be hooked up to small battery chargers that can charge a variety of objects (rechargeable golf cart batteries, small electronic devices, etc.).

The third aspect of our project focuses on the creation of the rain garden next to the rainwater storage tanks. This garden will feature a variety of plants native to the New York area that are beneficial in a rain garden setting. It will also have a variety of other positive effects including: One, pollination support for local birds and insects (Monarch butterflies in particular), Two, the beautification of the eastern-most side of the Brooklyn College campus, and Three, the provision of a peaceful and aesthetically-pleasing backdrop for the children and adult teachers and supervisors in the Early Childhood Center’s playground area.

The fourth and final aspect of our project focuses on the sidewalk areas of Campus Road (from James Hall to Whitehead Hall). The outside areas of these sidewalks (where grass would normally be found) have been covered with concrete tiles, and some sections are inaccessible due to dead tree stumps being in the way. Our group will remove this concrete tiling and replace it with grass patches and various plants. We will also remove the dead tree stumps and replace them with new baby trees. This will provide a larger space for rainwater to be collected on sidewalks, and the collected rainwater will encourage the growth of newly planted grass and trees.

Sidewalk Part of the Project

The sidewalks that are filled with cement and soil, are useless. The sidewalks are so wide, and no one even walk on that space because there are small trees. Along Campus Road from Whitehead hall to James hall the boxes are 1380ft by 4.5ft. There is another 175ft by 4.5ft of the same not productive cement right of the exit of Whitehead Hall. The cement can be taken out, and plants or grass can be grown to absorb the rain, improve the environment, and give the college a healthier and more vibrant outlook. The price of the plants/grass is dependent on the type of plant/grass that is used, but it should not be too much because the greens are relatively cheap. Volunteers and students can grow the plants, and use it as a case study for a project. This is a win-win situation for the environment, and the students. One problem is that people with cars will park next to the sidewalk, and will step on it when getting out of the car. It would not take too much time to re-grow or re-plant, so it will not be a big deal. Also, the gaia soil will be used. Gaia soil is recycled material turned soil. It will be very cost-efficient and perfect in promoting and teaching everyone about the benefits recycling. Some people might claim that it they will waste a lot of time not being able to walk onto the grass to go across the street. A little more exercise never hurts. The energetic young college students should not complain, because this gives them more time to talk with their friends while walking, and they are full of energy.

Improved Draft Design and Final Project Outline Document

This post is about the new, final changes to our project design draft/idea. We worked with our idea over the past week, and with the help and advice of Professor Cheng have come to a final outline.

*** Download our group’s final project outline PDF file here: Group Project Outline (FINAL) ***

Revision of Project Summary (by Trevor):

The green infrastructure is similar to the old idea, except that in this refined version, we will have two water tanks on two different locations. One on the left side of the window, and the other on the right side of the window of the Whitehead Hall building façade that is facing Campus Road. One problem is that we will need to build a new slab of concrete to hold the water tank/barrel. We cannot just lay the tank on the grass, because it would sink into the grass due to its heavy weight, even before collecting any water. The exact measurements of the tank and the new concrete slab on the right side of the outside of Whitehead Hall has not been taken yet. We are changing to two tanks because with one tank, the two drainage pipes would have to cross the window on the side facing Campus Road of Whitehead Hall. Not only is that unappealing, it might not be good if the windows needed repair. This new idea is much better in terms of flexibility and looks. The two tanks is more efficient, too, because we will need more than just one pipe collecting water because the roof of Whitehead Hall is 13,000 cubic feet. With such a large capacity to accept water, the extra gutter, pipe, and tank will reduce the amount of overflowed water left on the top gutter for evaporation, and waste. The more water stored and used to generate electricity, the more successful the project will be.

Also, we will want to lower our pinwheel model for generating electricity through the use of water flow. Due to the wires connecting to the electricity box, the probability of the wire being damaged is a lot less when it is shorter, and less high up. It will also be more affordable, in terms of cost, due to a smaller wire. In hopes of tweaking the design, we believe it is better because it is more cost-beneficial, looks more stylish, more efficient, and has less problems. This will help the community, and school to generate more water, with a lower price tag.

New Whitehead Hall Roof Pictures:

Looking out at the left side of part of the Whitehead Hall roof.

Looking out at the right side of part of the Whitehead Hall roof.

The gravel/rocks that cake the top of Whitehead Hall. They provide an interesting filter system for debris in rainwater.

The Final Draft of Our Group’s Plans: BC Rainways

Since last week’s class tour around the Brooklyn College campus, our group has thought hard about the specific area(s) we’d like to change in our plan for a better, more rainwater-friendly Brooklyn College. We have decided that the best area to work with is the large, grassy space on the eastern-most side of Whitehead Hall.

The eastern-most part of Whitehead Hall. There’s plenty of space for rain water collection/storage and a rain garden or set of planter boxes.


Our group plans to have some kind of drainage pipe that will lead the water flow into the barrels. It is definitely an upgrade over water coming down roofs because it would be very hard for the water to go into the barrel for every speck of water falling off the roof. To do that, a gutter might be needed to collect the water on the rooftop. Although our group has not explored the roof of Whitehead yet, we can make adjustments accordingly. For example, if the roof is flat, we can add some cement on material that will help slope the roof towards one or a couple areas. This method would be downspout disconnection. We can always build the roof, if needed, with recycle materials. The barrels we will be using is a method known as rainwater harvesting. Although we decided to have 3 barrels near Whitehead behind the planks, we are tailoring our plan to strategically put the barrels to better use. We could make a box tank, but it might need to be further out from the building wall. But we are putting a box/tank on the cement outside of Whitehead, along Campus road, where it is surrounded by grass. Why this spot? Well it is much roomier, and there are grass, and ivy right next to it, which would make for an easier and more efficient use of the stored water. Also, we can connect the water to a hose and have it spray the grass according to a electronically set and manually controlled device. At the same time, the water will be used to help generate electricity for golf carts used on campus ground. How exactly? Well, the water coming down can knock down a series of windmill water bottles that, like normal windmills, spin and generate electricity by charging a battery of some sort.

The eastern-most side of Whitehead Hall has a rain spout that’s readily available to use for a green infrastructure program.

Our group are also going to build the rain gardens, possibly with the idea of planter boxes outside Whitehead, along Campus Road. The streets are so wide, and the outer section, towards the street, is not really in use. So, the group can take away the cement, and put recycled soil and build grass for a healthier community. This would also help, in terms of, re-using rainwater and not letting it just fall onto the cement and street. This can be somewhat called bioswales, and definitely Green Streets and Alleys. Our group is also in discussion about making a green roof. We will need to check the roof and see if it can accommodate a green roof. We are still in the draft/designing phase of this experiment/project, so there will be a lot more changes and improvements to come.


An early draft of what our group plans to do to the eastern wall of Whitehead Hall.

In this first diagram, we see the eastern-most side of Whitehead Hall depicted with a series of gutters and pinwheels attached to it. The gutters and pinwheels will direct the flow of water from an already-existing spout on the side of the roof to the area where our group plans to install a series of rainwater holding tanks.

Depending on exactly how much water flows through the already-existing spout, it may need to be altered to allow a greater flow of water through it. Most of the water will still be entering into Whitehead Hall’s internal rain collection system, however we can direct a certain section of the roof to flow through this one external spout. Also, the roof of Whitehead Hall looks to be separated by already-existing concrete walkways or metal pipes. Our group plans to visit the roof of Whitehead Hall and see if there is already some form of separation for the rooftop areas. In that case, we would be able to redirect rainwater flow from specific sections on the eastern side.

The pinwheels that the water will be hitting on the way down will be windmills made out of recycled plastic bottles. As the water fills each bottle, the pinwheel spins. Besides being a form of beautification on the Brooklyn College campus, these pinwheels can also be attached to chains that can spin small motors to charge batteries. Our group may even add on a small area designated for charging the batteries of the small golf carts that are used to transport staff and equipment around the campus. However our main priority is designing a system of tanks that will collect rainwater for future use.

An early sketch depicting the kind of rainwater storage tanks our group would like to design and install outside of Whitehead Hall.

In this second diagram, we see a side view of the three rainwater tanks our group plans to install. These three tanks will be built so that when the first one fills to a certain level, a pipe redirects the water flow to the second tank, and when that fills up to a certain level, the water is redirected again to the third tank. If there’s an unusually heavy level of rainfall, the third tank will be built to have a spout that will direct water out of the tank and onto the grass below.

These tanks will be designed to sit on top of the small concrete slab that’s in this are (it’s visible in the first picture above). The slab is approximately eight feet by ten feet, which would provide optimal space to have a small series of tanks that can store water. Depending on how much the concrete can hold and how much water can flow through the downspout connection, these tanks could be anywhere from three feet tall to six feet tall.

Going back to the “beautification aspect” of this project, these tanks can also be painted with scenes of the Brooklyn College campus (for example, a scene of the library clock tower at sunset). This point is addressed more in the “Other Benefits” section of this post.


-Grass space outside of Whitehead Hall (eastern side):

1/2 x 80 ft x70 ft = 2800 ft. sq total space in the triangle

2800 sq ft – 112 sq ft = 2688 sq ft grassy space

2688 sq ft x 1/12 ft = 224 cubic ft (volume of rain when one inch collects on surface)

-Concrete slab outside of Whitehead Hall (to be measured more accurately on Tuesday when I have a larger measuring tool)-

8 ft x 14 ft. =112 sq ft. (accurate to about 10 square feet)

112 sq ft x 1/12 ft = 9.33 cubic ft (volume of rain when one inch collects on surface)


     In addition to rainwater conservation, energy harvesting, and redirection of water to more efficient locations, our project will provide many interesting benefits after implementation. For one, we will be using recycled soil for the building of the rain garden, thus using up recycled materials as a more eco-friendly solution rather than basic soil. In the process of cleaning up the wall used in the water wheel portion of our project, we will have to do a bit of landscaping on the vines growing along the bricks. While we do not want to remove to many vines, as they help cool the building, we will remove enough that it will be possible to see the Whitehead Building name, which be useful to visitors trying to identify the building as the view is currently obscured.

The grassy space outside Whitehead Hall is ready for a makeover. Our group plans to plant a new rain garden with eco-friendly soil.

In terms of aesthetics, any rain garden work we do will definitely be an improvement over the current state of the lawn. As of now, it contains some lawn grass, tree stumps, and a slab of concrete. As Daniel stated, we can really put an artsy spin on the rain barrels/boxes, and spinning water wheels will definitely be a fascinating addition to the campus. We can discuss the exact foliage used in the rain garden we are planning, but it will bring texture and color to a mostly bare landscape and add some character. If possible, we can even research certain plant species that could be beneficial to the animals local to our campus. It will be very nice to beautify this particular area, since it is right in front of a children’s playground. It would be amazing if the children could enjoy, and even participate in the care of the garden.

BC Campus Exploration and Group Merger

Today, Professor Cheng and our Macaulay Seminar Two class took a small walking tour of different spots on the Brooklyn College campus. The goal of this tour was to determine the best spots to implement some form of green infrastructure (some way to either improve current rainwater saturation conditions or to develop a new form of rainwater collection and storage). Each group has now decided which spot will be best for what they want to achieve/implement.

Professor Cheng and the Macaulay Seminar Three class on a tour through the BC campus.

Before the tour began however, Professor Cheng announced that some groups should merge so that there would only be three main groups working on this project (this will help ease the workload placed on each student and provide a greater selection of ideas). Our group (Group One–Anna, Daniel and Trevor) has merged with Group Two (Danielle, William and Michael), so we intend to work on this single eportfolio together from now on.

The tour began at the BC parking lot located on the corner of Campus Road and Avenue H. Our class noticed that the parking lot is very sloped, so rainwater tends to flow down towards Campus Road. Unfortunately, this put a damper on one group’s idea to place planter boxes at certain spots inside the parking lot (no pun intended).

Since this parking lot is sloped, the rain water will always flow down towards Campus Road.

Another issue with this parking lot is that it’s very crowded. Many of the cars parked there were on sections of pavement which had painted diagonal lines on them, which most groups thought would mean free space to construct planter boxes or bioswales. Since the cars seem to be taking up almost 100% of the free space inside the parking lot, it doesn’t look like there’s much that can be done there.

There were multiple cars parked on spaces of the pavement that were actually marked so cars wouldn’t park on them.

As we exited the parking lot, Professor Cheng noticed that there is a section of unused sidewalk that is about 15 feet wide by 40 feet long. Not only was this sidewalk cracked, but it led to a small gate that clearly hadn’t been opened/accessed in years and it had two ugly, empty planter spaces in the middle of it. These spaces did have trees in them at one point in time, but now they’re void of all plant life. Our class figured that this would be an optimal place for a large planter box to take on water from the parking lot, if one of the groups chose to plan its construction.

As our tour group moved down Campus Road, we re-entered the BC campus near the entrance outside of Whitehead Hall. This brought us to a small patch of concrete outside of Whitehead Hall. This is the location that our group mentioned in our first post (which can be read HERE). At this spot, there’s a medium-sized raised section of grass that’s overgrown and filled with stray cats. There are five rainwater drains in the ground, and there’s a very large section of grass on the eastern-most side of Whitehead Hall that’s empty and unused.

The secluded area located outside of Whitehead Hall–home to only weeds and feral, stray cats!

The section of grass that’s overgrown and is occupied by stray grass would be the perfect to store rain barrels. These barrels could collect some of the water which falls on the 13,000+ square foot roof of Whitehead Hall, and the drains in the concrete could take up any excess water that might overflow from the barrels. This stored water could possibly be used by a miniature hydro-electric charger to supply power to the golf carts used by staff on the BC campus, and it could also be used to supply water to surrounding plant life.

This small, raised grassy patch would be perfect for rain barrel storage.

The eastern-most patch of grass gives our group even more room to implement forms of green infrastructure. The water stored in the rain barrels at the other grass patch could be used to water newly-planted flowers and/or trees here. This eastern-most spot could also be the home to a possible hydro-electric mill that would take divert rain water off the roof of Whitehead Hall and have it flow through the mill down to the ground. Our group intends to choose two or three of these small ideas and lay out a single plan for their creation.

The eastern-most part of the campus–this would be perfect for creating a small hydro-electric mill to charge the batteries of the golf carts on campus/planting a new flower bed with rain water-friendly soil.

Out tour group moved across to the other side of campus and through the West Quad while noting some patches of pavement that had unused planter spaces with dead tree stumps in them.

Two examples of dead planter spaces outside of James Hall at Brooklyn College.

The final location we visited was outside of the West End Building near the rear parking lot on the western-most side of the BC campus. We discovered that a lot of the grass patches are greatly sloped here, and that these patches send much more water to the tennis courts and the parking lots nearby. We considered that there may be some sort of dam we can construct on these sloped patches of land to slow the flow of rainwater from the WEB and the West Quad Building to the parking lots.

The sloped grassy hills outside of the West Quad and West End Buildings.

After today’s class/tour, our group has chosen a single spot to work with on campus. The six of us intend to further research the space and determine what green infrastructure forms will best serve the campus.

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Before our groups merged, we drew up plans for green infrastructure implementation over two hard copies of the BC campus map. They’re both displayed below for the sake of showing how our groups have progressed and what changes have been made to our ideas.

The original map/plans for Group One (Anna, Daniel, Trevor).

The original map/plans for Group Two (Danielle, William, Michael).

Group Brainstorming – Three Ideas for a Better Brooklyn College

For our Macaulay Honors College Seminar Three class, The Science of New York, each group has been tasked with designing an earth-friendly program to improve the flow of rainwater (or put it to better use) on the Brooklyn College campus. At the end of the class, we are going to choose one program to submit to the EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge.

The three members of our group are Anna Kozlova, Daniel Scarpati and Trevor Lee. Each of us has come up with a separate idea/program to improve the rainwater system at Brooklyn College, and we hope to combine the best aspects of each program and come up with one final design by the second week of October.


There’s a small raised block of cement outside of Whitehead Hall on the BC campus. It’s in front of the building and behind the wooden seating area where most people spend time eating lunch and working on group assignments. This spot is out of the way (not in direct walking-traffic by any means) and currently unused. All that resides there now is a small patch of grass and a family of feral street cats.

Daniel’s planned rainwater harvesting site–right outside of Whitehead Hall and behind the wooden plank seating area.

With the amount of rain the falls onto the roof of Whitehead Hall (over 13,750 square feet), this would be a perfect place to implement a type of rainwater storage system. Whether it be rain barrels or a storage tank, this collected water could be used to soak the surrouning trees and grass and possible even power the batteries that the BC campus golf carts run on (via the design depicted in the following embedded video, which was found by Anna).

Whatever the use, this rain storage device would prevent excess water from pouring onto the surrounding pavement or from backing up the drains and pipes around and in Whitehead Hall.


For my idea, I wanted to focus on the rainwater collected by Whitehead Hall. My focus, rather than direct rainwater collection, would be to redirect water away from the sewage system through a possible downspout disconnection. With the addition of a little extra plumbing, it maybe be possible to redirect water flow to the grassy area on the upper right of the image Daniel used . In a soil and plan rich environment, rainwater would be kept from possibly overwhelming existing water systems

In that particular area, we could plant a rain garden with vegetation suitable to local campus-friendly animals such as squirrels and certain species of birds. We could do quite a bit of research on vegetation that requires the least maintenance, and provides the most benefit to the local area in terms of aesthetics and it’s animal-friendly environment.  The garden could serve as a community piece, and would be a nice sight for children playing in the nearby park.


The problem is when rain falls, a lot of that water is going to waste. Instead of letting the water run onto the cement, where there are no tunnels, gutters, or pipes near the grounds, we can make an apparatus that either collects the water to filter and use for later or make a simple model to use that water to generate electricity. Also, some of that water can be channelled to the constantly destroyed and paved grass. That would make for a healthier and more beautiful campus.

Also, as many of you may know, the walkway from the W.E.B to the West Quad building slants down towards the tennis court. All the water that falls is going towards the raised cement that surround the tennis court. Maybe we can make a gutter, to collect all the water at strategically placed and positioned areas so that we can maximize efficiency and minimize cost. Maybe even a gutter than connects to the pipe would work as well.

Some problems are in might get in the way if an apparatus is built to collect the water. A lot of students do go near that building to use it for various reasons, such as club. We can counter that by putting gutters in place, or pipes. But as well, construction can get in the way. It would be best if it was quickly built during a weekend, holiday, or some day where not many students go to school. Building a gutter, or tunnel to collect the rain water that falls down the slanted path near the tennis court might take long. One can build a small one, and then just have a pipe that can connect it to a hose on the grass to water the grass.

The section of Brooklyn College campus I intend to work with.


Although these ideas/programs may seem different, we hope to be able to create a program that we can all agree on based on the best aspects of each of our individual assignments.