Category Archives: Uncategorized

Porous asphalt vehicle display lot completed for Crest Acura!

With funding under Onondaga County’s award-winning Save the Rain program, Crest Acura’s porous asphalt lot was completed this summer.  The project was designed by Natural Systems Engineering and constructed by Lan-Co Construction (East Syracuse, New York).  The porous asphalt was designed to capture runoff from the 10,000 sq ft porous surface and the 9950 sq ft impervious asphalt lot located to the northeast.  Roughly 1000 sq ft of greenspace was added to replace asphalt in the right-of-way of the City of Syracuse.

The project will manage a minimum of 400,000 gal of strormwater per year, removing that flow from Syracuse’s combined sewer system.



NYSERDA Launches $15 Million Initiative to Spur Ground Source Heat Pump Market!

Individual Projects can Receive up to $1 Million Rebate Depending on Size

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced on May 30 the availability of $15 million in rebates for the installation of ground source heat pump systems for residences, businesses and institutions. The announcement states that “renewable heating and cooling technologies such as ground source heat pumps not only provide environmental benefits but also provide energy bill savings, increased comfort levels and health benefits compared to conventional heating and cooling technologies.”

The amount of funding available to each project will depend on its size. Smaller projects (e.g., residential and small commercial buildings) can receive up to $15,000 when the installation is completed. A typical residential system will qualify for about $6,000. Larger projects (e.g., multi-family, hospitals and college campuses) can receive up to $500,000 per building with payments being made throughout the project. No single site can receive more than $1 million.

Rebates will be available to qualified installers for two years or until all funds have been exhausted. The total amount of the rebate will be deducted from the total cost of the system, thereby passing the savings along directly to consumers. Any ground source heat pump system for which installation was complete on or after January 1, 2017, and that meets the requirements of the program, is eligible.  Only participating, qualified designers and installers may submit applications.  Natural Systems Engineering is such a provider!

To discuss an application for your project, please contact:

Kyle E. Thomas, P.E.

Natural Systems Engineering, PLLC

Recent Save the Rain Project Featured on Channel 9!

The Ra-Lin “Save the Rain” project designed by Natural Systems Engineering was featured on WSYR News Channel 9 on September 30, 2016.  The project involved construction of approximately 16, 000 sq ft of porous asphalt and a bioretention area to manage stormwater runoff from the 1.5 acres of impervious areas at the discount appliance store located on Burnet Avenue in Syracuse.  The project will result in the management of over 1.2 million gallons of stormwater annually, preventing that volume from entering the storm sewer system and contributing to combined sewer overflows to Onondaga Lake.  The story on Channel 9 shows how the porous asphalt allows infiltration of rainwater through the porous surface.

Green Infrastructure, porous asphalt parking lot completed at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church!


In October 2015 construction was completed on the porous asphalt installation at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church, 515 Oakwood Avenue, Syracuse, New York designed by Natural Systems Engineering.  The project involved construction of 12,000 sq ft of porous asphalt surface to manage runoff from approximately 70,000 sq ft of impervious lot and rooftop.  The project was funded by Onondaga County’s award-winning “Save the Rain” program and will remove over 1.5 milion gal of stormwater per year from the City’s combined sewer system!  The contractor was Ruston Paving Company (DeWitt, New York).   Construction (20)

Patent Issued – “Retrofit Catch Basin for Use in Stormwater Management Practice”!

On September 8, 2015 patent number 9.127,488 was issued by the USPTO for “Retrofit Catch Basin for Use in Stormwater Management Practice.”  The device allows a conventional stormwater catch basin to be retrofitted to divert runoff to an alternative practice (such as green infrastructure) while allowing the catch basin to continue to serve as an overflow for the alternative practice.  Now looking for a partner with whom to commercialize this!

Catch Basin Retrofit Schematic

Birds Eye View of New Green Roof at Zip Networks!

As seen from a passing drone, shown is the new vegetated roof at Zip Networks, 100 Wilkinson Street, Syracuse.  The green roof is an extensive green roof planted with sedum.  Construction was performed by Shaffer Building Services (Syracuse, New York) based on the design of Natural Systems Engineering.   The roof looks brown due to the erosion control mat, but will be green by the end of the season!  The project was funded by Onondaga County’s award-winning Save the Rain program.

Birds Eye View of Zip Networks Vegetated Roof.

Birds Eye View of Zip Networks Vegetated Roof.

Checking in on Erie-Bruce Green Infrastructure after 1 Year

The Erie-Bruce Green Infrastructure project located at 2112 Erie Boulevard East in Syracuse consisted of porous asphalt, porous pavers, and two bioretention areas.  The site is characterized by sloping topography toward the office building, and clayey soils exhibiting low infiltration.  The green infrastructure installed not only achieved the Onondaga County Save the Rain program objectives for retention of stormwater on-site, but did so in a manner that actually alleviated the flooding that sometimes occurred in the building related to storm runoff.   Construction was completed in the Fall of 2013.  Photos are from late Summer 2014.IMG_0543

Porous asphalt (foreground) and porous pavers (background) at Erie Bruce Green Infrastructure project

Porous asphalt (foreground) and porous pavers (background) at Erie Bruce Green Infrastructure project


Onondaga Commons Former AAA Building Green Infrastructure Project Completed!

In August 2014 construction was completed on NSE’s latest green infrastructure project, located at 506 W. Onondaga Street, Syracuse.  The project consists of added greenspace and 15,300 sq ft of porous asphalt.  The project manages runoff from 17,220 sq ft of impervious surfaces effectively managing over 380,000 gal of stormwater annually.

View of Onondaga Commons, Former AAA Building Greenspace in Foreground with Porous Asphalt in Background

View of Onondaga Commons, Former AAA Building Greenspace in Foreground with Porous Asphalt in Background

Beartrap Creek Final Report

Beartrap Creek is a secondary tributary contributing to Onondaga Lake located in Onondaga County, New York. With the growth of the city of Syracuse, the urban development and non-point pollution has been degrading Beartrap Creek. In 2011, a project was designed by Izaak Walton League to address one of the long-term goals of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative- to provide a healthy ecosystem for fish and wildlife.

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Beartrap creek prior to restoration efforts 

This project was separated into three subjects:

  1. Describe the fish community at select locations upstream, downstream, and at sites of restoration in Beartrap Creek before and after habitat enhancements are made, using Rapid Bioassesssment Protocols (RBPs)
  2. Apply an Index of Biological integrity (IBI) to determine spatial and temporal changes in fish species diversity, density, and size distribution
  3. Conduct a Visual Habitat Assessment (VHA) of sites before and after construction to determine temporal changes in riparian and in-stream habitat quality

The results of the installation of in-stream structures improved the habitat condition for locations in Beartrap Creek. Based on the IBI, fish community structure was shown to improve at and downstream of habitat enhancements approximately 8-11 months following installation. However for most of those locations improvements were minimal following initial installation, and for all of these sites, IBI scores remained the same or decreased in 2013. Fish richness and diversity was relatively consistent during sample years for each location, with only one location showing a  consistent increase in diversity; a site that was upstream of habitat enhancements. 

Conclusions were drawn from similar projects that habitat restoration efforts take longer than 2 years to observe the desired outcomes. These sites, as well as others further downstream will be monitored for the next few years with hopes that the restoration efforts have improved the ecosystem.

June 18, 2013 – Green Infrastructure project completed!

Construction was completed this week for Home Headquarters on the green infrastructure project located at 223 Marcellus Street, Syracuse.  The project involved a stormwater planter and curbside bioretention to manage runoff from the work/live center on-site and from Niagara and Marcellus Streets. IMG_1901