case study

Seattle Housing Authority Partners with RainWise

"In partnership with Seattle Housing Authority, RainWise installed 10 cisterns at Willis House that manage 27,000 gallons of rainwater from over 7,600 square feet of roof area. "
Project Facts
Vireo Design Studio
10 cisterns, 1 rain garden
Roof Captured
7,614 square feet
Rebate Amount
Project Summary

Located in the Green Lake neighborhood of north Seattle, Willis House is one of 400 Seattle Housing Authority(SHA) sites that provides long term, low-income rental housing for Seattle residents. Willis House is part of SHA’s Seattle Senior Housing Program and comprises of 42 apartments. Willis House’s RainWise installation manages rainwater runoff from over 7,500 square feet of flat roof area. The project

  • creates community collaboration towards maintaining the rain garden,
  • keeps 27,000 gallons out of the sewer system every year,
  • maintains a habitat for pollinators and native plants,
  • protects Puget Sound from combined sewer system overflows.

The installation was completed in May 2019, with a total of $xxx covered by the RainWise rebate program.

Project Specifications

Vireo Design Studio directed water from 7,614 square feet of roof area to flow into 10 cisterns and one rain garden. Large native shrubs were installed adjacent to the cisterns for natural screening and for beneficial wildlife habitat. To maximize the amount of storm water collected, Vireo Design Studio arranged the cisterns in a ‘daisy chain’ aligned closely to the building to ensure positive drainage towards the existing side sewer. They were careful not to damage existing plantings and replanted in a few places to ensure plant viability.

This project diverts 27,000 gallonsfrom the sewer system each year to reduce combined sewer overflows.

Stakeholder Collaboration

Working with Seattle Housing Authority was a new experience for Vireo Design Studio because of the multiple stakeholders involved in a Big Roof project, including administrative managers, project managers, site managers, landscape maintenance professionals and outreach professionals.

Vireo created an extensive detailed proposal and illustrative drawings to communicate the concept to not only SHA staff but to the 30 plus individuals who live at Willis House.

Willis House is proud to be the first SHA RainWise site and encourages other residential properties to join the RainWise program to reduce pollution into our beautiful waterways.

Project partners include SHA staff, King County staff, RainWise outreach staff and the creative design talents of the RainWise contractor, Vireo Design Studio.