Posts Tagged ‘Landscape’

Rain Gardens & Bioswales, March 31st at the Chicago Center for Green Technology

Rain GardenTom Barrett, owner of Westfield, Indiana-based Green Water Infrastructure, will present “Constructing Rain Gardens and Bioswales: New Tools for Sustainable Site Development” at the Chicago Center for Green Technology on March 31 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

In the presentation, Barrett will discuss how rain gardens and bioswales protects, restores, and mimics the natural water cycle, and how they can help develop a natural approach to water efficiency, and relieve storm water management issues.

“The American Society for Civil Engineers gave the United States’ water systems a grade of

‘D-,’ the lowest of any America infrastructure,” said Barrett. “Through increased use of rain gardens and bioswales, we can improve our water systems and create a better environment for plants, animals and people.”

This program is presented free of charge as part of the Chicago Center for Green Technology’s Green Tech U program. Registration is required by calling 312-746-9642 or by emailing your requested class and contact information to greentech@cityofchicago.org with “Green Tech U” in the subject line.

About Tom Barrett:

Tom Barrett is an accomplished corporate growth and change agent with over thirty years of landscape industry experience.   Tom’s leadership experience, holding executive level positions, drives corporate revenue growth through change and innovation for business start-ups, corporate expansions, and divisional turnarounds.

Tom Barrett has been delivering energetic, dynamic presentations and training for over twenty years.  These presentations empower people to become masters of change rather than victims of circumstance by developing tools for transformational thinking.  For more information, please visit www.thinkgwi.com

About Green Water Infrastructure:

Green Water Infrastructure is a consulting company that integrates water resources for sustainable site development. Their goal is to utilize one hundred percent of the on-site water resources at a site. Green Water saves communities money by combining green infrastructure with gray infrastructure and new technology with existing technology to create sustainable growth — environmentally and socially. For more information, please visit www.thinkgwi.com.

About the Chicago Center for Green Technology: The Chicago Center for Green Technology is the first rehabilitated municipal building in the nation to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ™ (LEED) Platinum rating by the U.S. Green Building Council. Mayor Richard M. Daley dedicated the building in 2002 and it has since become a national model for sustainable design and technology. The Center serves as the most comprehensive green design and educational resource in the Midwest.

Brave New World: Trends in Landscape Irrigation Presentation

Plainfield, Indiana

February 16, 2011

I presented my talk, “Brave New World: Trends in the Landscape Industry” at the Indiana Irrigation Contractor Council’s 2011 Winter Education Session.

We had a great turnout and great presentations for the 2011 Winter Educational Session. From the state of the industry to new ways to grow your business.

The program had it all.

I am look forward to my next speaking engagement on February 24th on Permeable Paving at the Chicago Center for Green Technology.

In case you missed it, below is a copy of the presentation:

Brave New World: Trends in the Landscape Irrigation IICC (02-115-2-2011)

View more presentations from Tom Barrett.

Key Learnings

  • The business is rapidly changing
  • Opportunities exist in areas unavailable five years ago
  • Customers have different needs and require a new approach
  • Companies investing in marketing are growing

Reflections on Brave New World: Trends in the Landscape Irrigation Industry

Recently, I spoke to the Indiana Irrigation Contractor Council’s Winter Education Session. I presented my seminar, “Brave New World: Trends in the Landscape Industry.”

I feel the seminar was incredibly helpful to the folks in the audience. Based on conversations I had with audience members, some of the points they found most interesting were the changing roles of women in work and current trends in the landscape industry.

I also feel I learned a few things through interaction with some of my class attendees. Some of the lessons I will take away from the class are contractors are ready to invest in marketing to grow their business.

I am look forward to my next speaking engagement on February 24th on Permeable Paving at the Chicago Center for Green Technology.

“SMART” Landscape Irrigation

Orlando, Florida

Febraury 4, 2011

The water we use to irrigate our crops is vital and still we as a nation continue to practice inefficient irrigation methods. Current irrigation practices waste an exorbitant amount of money and water using our current process.

Commercial and residential outdoor water use in the United States accounts for more than seven billion gallons of water each day, mainly for landscape irrigation.”
—U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA estimates over three and a half billion gallons of water are wasted every day with inefficient and ineffective irrigation practices.  More than fifty percent of irrigation water used in residential and commercial irrigation systems is wasted.
In this presentation delivered for the Irrigation Association’s Point of Connection: Irrigation Contractor Leadership Summit at Walt Disney World, Barrett presents the “State of the Art” in irrigation design and installation. Barrett presents a comprehensive and sometimes controversial exploration of alternate water sources as well as the EPA WaterSense Program, SMART irrigation technology and current regulatory trends in the irrigation industry.
SMART Landscape Irrigation (Orlando, February 2011)

View more presentations from Tom Barrett.

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding that stormwater is the largest source of water pollution in the United States.
  • Sustainability starts with the landscape. Developing a functional landscape is the most effective and efficient means of remediating the environment.
  • Combining “green infrastructure” with existing, conventional “gray infrastructure,” as well as combining new technology with old technology creating a sustainable future.
Relaxed style with great input!”
Kris Keckley, Rain One Irrigation
Open mined approach to “green” building and use of landscapes.”
– Judy Benson, Clearwater Products & Services
EPA WaterSense 2010 Partner of the Year
Tom, as usual you did a great presentation!”

Brent Mechan, Irrigation Association

Maintaining Native Prairie Ecosystems

Controlled or Prescibed BurningPrairie Fire Image

One of the most important factors in maintaining a native prairie community is prescribed burns. Prescribed burns are usually conducted every three to five years. Prairies are fire-dependant ecosystems. The primary purpose of the prescribed burn is to manage and reduce the layer of dead and decaying vegetation which naturally accumulates over several growing seasons. The benefits of prescribed burning are an increase in forbs or flowers for several growing seasons, an increase in plant diversity, and controlled burns release plant nutrients back into the soil. Additionally, prescribed burns control the growth of volunteer trees and shrubs. If left alone, a native prairie will grow into a forest.

Safety is Important

It is important to have a plan for a prescribed burn. Safety is the most important concern. Some things to consider are:

  • Time of year (spring is usually best).
  • Acceptable and unacceptable weather conditions. Do not burn in windy conditions or unusually dry conditions.
  • Create fire breaks.
  • Burn small areas at a time.
  • Have adequately trained personnel on hand (this activity might serve a dual purpose of training fire department personnel).
  • Have proper fire equipment on-hand so that the burn does not get out of control.
  • Notify neighbors and public safety officials prior to the burn.

Other Thoughts

If you do’t burn at all you will see a reduction in plant diversity. One or two plant species will dominate the prairie. Eventually, if left alone the prairie will turn into a forest.

The residence need to be notified of the burn. It is important to develop a public education program that explains why the City of Champaign is conducting a controlled burn. Do not conduct the burn when winds may blow smoke into the residence area. However, when properly conducted, a controlled burn has very little smoke. Fire will actually consume smoke. To experience this, let the smoke from a blown out candle drift into a the flame of a burning candle. Here is a link to a public education piece developed by the Minneapolis Parks Department: http://www.minneapolisparks.org/documents/caring/NatAreas/prescribed_burns.pdf

Sustainability Starts with Your Home

I recently wrote a guest blog  on Sustainability Starts with Your Landscape for Stefan Lubike the owner of SiteLine Design.

Recognizing sustainability as merely reducing energy waste, recycling, or conserving water is a common misconception. In truth, the greatest impact on the environment you can make is right in your own backyard.

Check out the post

Also check out the great work being done by Stefan and his gang at SiteLine Design.

Rain Gardens & Bioswales – An Overview

Brownsburg, Indiana

January 20, 2011

Rain Gardens and bioswales are some of our most effective tools in implementing sustainable water practices.

In this presentation, Barrett will discusses how rain gardens and bioswales protect, restore, and mimic the natural water cycle. Additionally, Tom explains how rain gardens and bioswales can help develop a natural solution for water efficiency, and relieve storm water management issues. Rain Gardens and bioswales create natural filters through which our rainwater can flow. We are in essence helping to remove the contaminants, while reducing the speed and volume in which the water runs to the storm drains. By choosing to create a rain garden or other environmentally responsible landscape solution, we can reduce the contaminants that collect in the sewer systems, and make a significant improvement for a cleaner and healthier environment.

View more presentations from Tom Barrett.

Reflections on the Indiana Green Expo Presentation

Recently, I spoke at the Indiana Green Expo, where I presented “Sustainable Landscapes.

According to feedback from audience members, the presentation was very informative.

They shared with me that some of the most useful and informative points were:Natural Water Cycle Image

  • New architectural design concepts incorporating “green” technology
  • Water reuse and end collection
  • Release of sewer water into local waterways with as little as ¼” of rainfall
  • Real-life examples of rainwater harvesting
  • Adventures in green industry are at an exciting point
  • People were surprised at the usefulness of landscapes in remediating environmental issues

I also learned people are interested in hearing more about:

  • Becoming local experts in rainwater management
  • Learning more  about air conditioning condensate recovery
  • In-depth training on how to construct rain gardens and install permeable paving

I truly enjoyed speaking at the Indiana Green Expo for such an energetic and enthusiastic crowd. The Indiana Green Expo (IGE) is Indiana’s most comprehensive green industry educational conference and trade show. The Indiana Green Expo had great educational sessions, a great audience, and a great show!

I look forward to my next speaking engagement on “Applying Smart Technologies to Rainwater Harvesting, Green Roofs, LEED Projects and Storm Water Issues” at Irrigation Association’s Irrigation Contractor Leadership summit at Walt Disney World, February 2–4.

Sustainability Starts with Your Landscape – Upcoming Presentation

Tuesday, January 18th; 1:30 − 2:30 P.M. at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

Coming up shortly, I’ll be giving my presentation, Sustainability Starts with Your Landscape on January 18th at the Indiana Green Expo.

Integrating nature’s resources for a sustainable site saves money and improves our environment. Rather than minimizing impact, the landscape is one of the few activities that improves the environment. Landscapes filter our air and water, sequesters carbon, creates oxygen and reduces our our heating and cooling needs.

Recognizing sustainability as merely reducing energy waste, recycling, or conserving water is a common misconception. In truth, the greatest impact on the environment you can make is right in your own backyard. In this session, discover how to grow and prosper in the rapidly developing field of sustainable site development.

“Through the increase use of landscapes we can actually improve our environment,” said Barrett. “and through increased awareness of landscapes as a functional part of our community, we can improve our water systems, cleanse our air, and create a better environment for plants, animals and people.” In his presentation, Barrett will explain just how essential some of these tools are to efficiently utilizing and managing resources.

Learning Objectives

• Understanding that stormwater is the largest source of water pollution in the United States

• Sustainability starts with the landscape. Developing a functional landscape is the most effective and efficient means of remediating the environment.

• Combining “green infrastructure” with existing, conventional “gray infrastructure,” as well as combining new technology with old technology creating a sustainable future.

Rain Gardens & Bioswales Presentation from the National Green Centre

National Green Centre Presentation

Saint Louis, MissouriRain Garden

January 10, 2011

Rain Gardens and bioswales are some of our most effective tools in implementing sustainable water practices. In the presentation, Barrett will discuss how rain gardens and bioswales protect, restore, and mimic the natural water cycle. Additionally, Tom will explain how rain gardens and bioswales can help develop a natural solution for water efficiency, and relieve storm water management issues. Rain Gardens and bioswales create natural filters through which our rainwater can flow. We are in essence helping to remove the contaminants, while reducing the speed and volume in which the water runs to the storm drains. By choosing to create a rain garden or other environmentally responsible landscape solution, we can reduce the contaminants that collect in the sewer systems, and make a significant improvement for a cleaner and healthier environment.

“The American Society for Civil Engineers gave the United States’ water systems a grade of ‘D-,’ the lowest of any America infrastructure,” said Barrett. “Through increased use of rain gardens and bioswales, we can improve our water systems and create a better environment for plants, animals and people. “In his presentation, Barrett will explain just how essential some of these tools are to efficiently utilizing and managing water sources.

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding that stormwater is the largest source of water pollution in the United States
  • Sustainability starts with the landscape. Developing a functional landscape is the most effective and efficient means of remediating the environment.
  • Combining “green infrastructure” with existing, conventional “gray infrastructure,” as well as combining new technology with old technology creating a sustainable future.

I throughly enjoyed the whole presentation! The topic was great, easy to understand.  I would like another presentation that is more in-depth.  The visuals were on-topic and easy to understand.”

– Emily Placke

Your presentation was really great.  The subject matter, of course, was very relevant.  Beyond that, though, I have to say your ability to explain and transition from point to point was great.   You have a very special way of addressing the topic simply, clearly, without bias, and with common sense that’s hard to refute

Thanks for a great presentation!”

– Stephanie Krull

View more presentations from Tom Barrett.