Stormwater runoff from the built environment, often mixed with contaminants, has a damaging effect on local and downstream ecosystems. Porous paving products and vegetated roofing systems result in less rainwater runoff and thereby reduce surface water pollution. Stormwater treatment systems reduce pollutant levels in any water that is released. Again, quantifiable benefit and a strong track record are important determinants here of “green.”
Bella Bluegrass, distributed by Todd Valley Farms, is a drought-resistant bluegrass that spreads via rhizomes rather than seeds. According to the company, this grass is not genetically modified, and it grows well laterally, “self-repairs,” and stops growing after reaching 3.5"–4", reducing the amount of mowing required by 50%–80%. It also requires 20%–30% less water than standard bluegrass. Bella Bluegrass is best used in colder climates and is available as sod, plugs, and Live Roof modules.
Lawn maintenance is a major source of air pollution and contaminated runoff from fertilizers and pesticides. Close to 40 million gas-powered mowers are used on the lawns of America. While domestic manufacturers have decreased their products’ emissions significantly (as required by EPA regulations), an hour of mowing the lawn with a current gas-powered machine still pollutes about as much as driving a late-model car for 13 hours.
Compounding the problem, fertilizer runoff from lawns is one of our most significant non-point-source water pollution problems; also, lawn pesticides are commonly applied at rates up to 20 times that of agricultural pesticides.
Recognizing its significant environmental advantages, GreenSpec lists landscaping that requires less mowing, fertilizing, and pesticide use.
SSc5: Site Development—Protect or Restore Open Habitat
SSc5.1: Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat
SSc6: Stormwater Quantity Control
SSc6.1: Stormwater Design—Quantity Control
SSc6.2: Stormwater Design—Quality Control
SSc7.2: Heat Island Effect—Roof
SSc7.2: Heat Island Reduction—Roof
WEc1: Water Efficient Landscaping
WEc1.1-1.2: Water Efficient Landscaping
WEc3: Water Efficient Landscaping
Ratings and Commentary