AET Group Inc. Property Soaks up Stormwater without Losing Parking Spaces

Oct 9, 2015

On Thursday, October 15th from 2-3pm employees at AET Group Inc. will add plants to specially designed gardens adjacent to their parking lot that will soak up and clean 70 % of the water that runs off of their rooftop and parking lots.

AET Group Inc. is an environmental consultancy firm that has been working over the past decade to reduce the environmental impacts of their own business. With their headquarters on a property less than a quarter acre and an office space converted from a century old home they knew they had significant sustainability challenges ahead of them. First, AET gutted and super-insulated their 2,000 square foot office space and upgraded to energy efficient LED lighting. They also installed water saving fixtures and drought tolerant landscape plantings to minimize water bills. In 2015 they contacted REEP Green Solutions’ RAIN Program to get help identify  cost-effective changes they could make to manage stormwater on their property that would receive stormwater credits from the City of Kitchener. “For our own business, we see these projects as an investment with social, environmental, and financial benefits,”  explains Scott Freiburger, Managing Director.

With an action plan in hand provided by the RAIN Program and a $4,000 RAIN Demonstration Project grant on the table, AET contacted Jeff Thomspon of Thompson Environmental to design a garden-based stormwater management system that would be cost-effective, attractive and would not lead to any loss of vital parking spaces on the small site.

The winning design turns a 1 metre wide strip of land between the building and the fence line that used to direct water into their basement, into a water-proof lined stone trench that filters and slows down rooftop and parking lot water. This water is directed through a pipe in the middle of the trench into a specially designed planter box known as a bioswale. Water moves through the planter box and is further filtered before making it’s way to a garden designed to soak up and clean this water at the front of the property known as a rain garden. Any overflow from the system makes its way offsite into the municipal storm sewer. By making simple, inexpensive changes, the property has gone from 100% of stormwater running off their property and into the storm drain to approximately 30% with storms up to 5mm.

“We would have liked to soak up more water to handle bigger storms but with our space restrictions we are very happy with the compromise this project represents. Our hope is that this project will show other businesses that change is achievable,” explains Freiburger.

By making changes recommended by the RAIN program and with the help of their contractor AET estimates they will see roughly 40% savings on their stormwater bill every year.

Event Details:
2:00-2:15 Press conference- thank yous and site tour
2:15-3:00  Planting event

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