The Center for Urban Waters in Tacoma, Wash., is a research center and community of environmental scientists, analysts, engineers and policymakers who develop creative and sustainable solutions to restore and protect urban waterways. The unique intellectual environment brings together organizations with complementary missions and individuals with diverse skills to develop innovative approaches to environmental restoration, as well as protected and sustainable urban development.
Research is led by the University of Washington Tacoma in a LEED® Platinum facility on the east side of Tacoma's Thea Foss Waterway. City staff assigned to the center work on critical environmental services for the citizens of the community. The collaboration includes the Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency coordinating efforts to restore and protect Puget Sound.
As part of its institutional mandate, the Center for Urban Waters provides a number of educational opportunities, such as informational tours and signage throughout the facility, to provide educational communications to the public about the building's sustainable solutions and the facility's two vegetative roof systems. Energy and water consumption is constantly monitored and visually displayed in real time in the center's lobby.
Although a vegetative roof system can be beneficial, an improperly designed one can be costly and challenging to upkeep. After the Center for Urban Water's property management company had difficulty maintaining the facility's vegetative roof systems, it called upon the experts at Nations Roof, Seattle, for help.