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South Lawn Cistern Project

Tudor Place, in pursuing sustainability and responsible stewardship of the historic house and grounds, is currently working to actively conserve water and regulate the stormwater flow on and from our site.

The stormwater management project, starting in February 2019 on the South Lawn, will reduce silt and water runoff, mitigate destructive erosion, and diminish our consumption of fresh water.

In collaboration with our architect, civil engineer, preservation consultant, and other experts, we designed a system that will meet our needs and our sustainable practice standards. Two underground cisterns will be fed by existing stormwater lines that gather rainwater from the Main House downspouts and gutters. These two cisterns can hold nearly 20,000 gallons of water, which we will use for irrigation after a short treatment process. Altogether, this project will involve excavating and placing the cisterns, installing the irrigation pump and water treatment system, and connecting the irrigation lines to the new water supply.

This project is a component of our Master Preservation Plan, developed in collaboration with stakeholders to reach the goal of enhancing Tudor Place’s interpretive capabilities while advancing the site’s overall sustainability. Other sustainability initiatives include implementing LED lighting throughout the property, and building an HVAC system based on geothermal energy.

Enhancing Water Management

With environmental stewardship a key aim of the Tudor Place Master Preservation Plan, sound water management becomes an essential goal. The museum will take a key step in that direction this summer with the expected installation of a cistern to conserve and control stormwater run-off. The project expands on past efforts to improve drainage around the historic house, with benefits extending as far as the Potomac watershed.

A decade ago, a new perimeter drainage system at the main house connected existing downspouts to drains installed in window areas. While this system successfully carried water away from the house, the resulting discharge on the South Lawn led to erosion and runoff. In 2016, an erosion-control intervention on the lawn’s southwest corner (using jute mesh, jute logs and silt fencing) temporarily mitigated the problem, but it’s a stopgap. The long-term solution is to install an underground cistern to capture the rainwater, treat it, and retain it for irrigation. On the rare occasions when runoff exceeds the cistern’s 21,000-gallon capacity, it will discharge through pipes directly into the city’s storm sewer system on 31st Street.

The full system will reduce erosion and runoff while also cutting our consumption of fresh water.  We expect the work to happen in late summer 2017.

Sustainability at Tudor Place

Recycle symbolIn addition to preserving a National Historic Landmark, Tudor Place strives to be a good neighbor and thoughtful member of the local and global communities. We are proud to advance a Master Preservation Plan that includes sustainability measures such as effective storm water management, the use of geothermal energy, installation of LED lighting, and other energy conservation activities.