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Project Name: The Ridges Sanctuary

Project Location: Bailey's Harbor, Wisconsin

The Ridges Sanctuary—a popular Wisconsin nature preserve—incorporated the GEOPAVE® Porous Pavement System into their sustainable project plants to obtain a LEED® green building rating. Awarded LEED Gold in January 2017, this facility is the first LEED-certified commercial building in Wisconsin’s Door County.

In addition to installing the GEOPAVE Aggregate System for permeable parking and walkways around the facility, other green design features included high performance and low-energy materials such as insulation, lighting, heating and cooling, water use, and a multitude of recycled materials.

Highly Porous System Protects Lake Michigan Waters; Contributes to Stormwater Goals

Design choices that encourage land preservation and conservation were of utmost importance to the 7,400-square-foot center. This project was an exemplary example to the community, both homeowners and businesses, of how to include sustainable and low-environmental impact materials in buildings.

Since the facility is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, protecting the lake’s watershed was a primary concern. Installed adjacent to Lake Michigan, the GEOPAVE system was an essential part of the overall plan to protect the waters against stormwater runoff. The GEOPAVE system, infilled with highly porous stone, allows water infiltration and acts as a natural, on-site stormwater retention system, storing stormwater in its aggregate base after rain events and allowing natural percolation. Unlike hard-paved surfaces that shed water from the surface, the GEOPAVE system with its permeable infill accepts water, significantly reducing runoff into the surrounding sensitive areas.

Use of Local Aggregate Resources

Both the limestone crushed aggregate used for the parking area and the contrasting colored buckshot crushed aggregate for the walkways were locally sourced. The GEOPAVE paver structure is made from recycled polymer and is designed specifically to contain aggregate infill. The system’s integrally molded mesh bottom holds the aggregate infill in place and minimizes aggregate movement under vehicle loading and turning stresses. The GEOPAVE pavements are designed to accept everyday traffic and can be designed with the appropriate base to accommodate heavier loads for applications such as emergency and utility lanes.

The Results

“We are extremely pleased with the level of interest visitors have expressed in the GEOPAVE product and delighted we’ve had the opportunity to talk with them about this very practical way of making a personal investment in the environment”, notes Judy Drew, Assistant Director, The Ridges Sanctuary.

About the Facility

The Ridges Sanctuary, Wisconsin’s first land trust, was founded in 1937 to conserve the original 40-acre parcel and today protects 1,600 acres of one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the state. The Sanctuary conserves critical wildlife habitats and diverse ecosystems, protects natural landmarks and scenic landscapes, and facilitates important research initiatives that are essential to the future of the Sanctuary and Door County. Perhaps most importantly, it provides environmental education activities for people of all ages, affording everyone abundant opportunities to explore and connect with the natural world and inspiring a legacy of conservation for future generations.

– Information provided by The Ridges Sanctuary.