Thank you to everyone who came out to Tales on the Trail Presented by Summerlee Foundation this past Sunday, July 31!
We had so much fun celebrating everything that makes Waterloo Park eco-friendly and sustainable with our City of Austin partners, Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD), Austin Energy, and Watershed Protection Department.
Special thanks to Eric Schultz, Managing Principal of local landscape architecture firm dwg., and Waterloo Greenway staff members Adriane Horne (Horticulture Supervisor), Martin Nembhard (Director of Park Operations), and Melissa Ayala (Director of Communications & Engagement) for being excellent tour guides and stewards of our park!
Waterloo Park and its world-class amenities are not only a special place where arts and culture come alive in Austin, but were designed and built using environmentally friendly principles and practices. We are incredibly proud that Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park has earned a 4-star rating through the Austin Energy® Green Building (AEGB) program – it is the first PARD partnership project to achieve this certification! Only 15 percent of AEGB’s rated projects achieve a 4-star rating. We want to thank Liana Kallivoka with PARD and Richard Genece with Austin Energy for participating in the ceremony with us.
The plaque presentation was followed by a guided park tour, focusing on Waterloo Park’s 30-year history, sustainable design features, and restored landscape that create this urban oasis with over 90,000 plants and over 500 trees. Read more history and sustainable design fun facts below!
We were also joined by our partners at Wild Spirit Wild Places who are working to create connections and build communities committed to protecting Texas’s expansive wild lands through conservation and education efforts.
Since 1978, Waterloo Park has been home to many authentically Austin experiences such as Spamarama, Pachanga, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Mess with Texas, and the Ice Cream Festival. The reopening of Waterloo Park and the Moody Amphitheater in August 2021 represented a homecoming of sorts, with Waterloo Greenway building upon a legacy of live music, festivals, and public art once hosted the 11-acre park.
The two heritage live oak trees located in the center of the Meredith Heritage Tree Deck have stood in the area of Waterloo Park for an estimated 200 years – the oldest and largest trees located at the park. These beautiful, signature landmarks represent a major gateway, providing a shaded seating area for park guests to enjoy.
Prior to the construction of the Waller Creek Tunnel, devastating flood events affected Waller Creek, including major flooding events like the 1915 Flash Flood. Today, the Tunnel begins at Waterloo Park, capturing floodwaters and safely releasing into Lady Bird Lake. The Tunnel is approximately 5,600 feet long. It lies 70 feet below the surface and ranges in size from 22 to 26 feet in diameter.
Waterloo Greenway is a remarkable story that’s still unfolding — one filled with generations of diverse communities and unforgettable moments that shaped the area of Waller Creek. Read more history.
Site and Design
Waterloo Park features a central lawn to create a new civic space that opens toward the Moody Amphitheater. Open year-round, this venue provides a dynamic music and arts experience in an urban park with diverse entertainment options that embody the values of the community.
The site has easy access to bus routes. On-site bike parking and an accessible trail network also contribute to lower-carbon transportation options.
In keeping with the Waterloo Greenway Conservancy’s initiative to showcase artwork from around the world, the Park also features a 6,500 sq. ft. mural by renowned Venezuelan artist Arturo Herrera.
Thoughtful design decisions about building orientation, integrating structures into the park landscape, exterior shading, and an economical use of windows passively reduce the buildings’ cooling and heating needs. Automated controls and efficient lighting and HVAC systems further contribute to the project’s estimated 37% annual energy savings over energy code.
As a subscriber to Austin Energy Green Choice, 100% of the electricity used in the Park and its buildings is supplied by Texas wind, a renewable and carbon-free resource.
Water Management and Efficiency
Water management is a vital element of the park design. The site features green roofs, wetlands and rain gardens that absorb and filter rainwater and runoff. This reduces the amount and speed of stormwater that makes its way into the creek, helping to mitigate flash-flooding and erosion, recharging the groundwater and improving the quality of the water that eventually moves into the waterway.
100% of the irrigation needs of the park are met using non-potable reclaimed water sourced primarily from the city’s reclaimed water loop. Non-potable water also supplies the flush fixtures in Waterloo Park’s restrooms.
The design team sourced local materials, including those made with recycled content, to lessen the project’s embodied carbon and energy. A hauler certified by the Recycling Certification Institute (RCI) managed construction waste and provided enhanced understanding of debris streams, including how much material is ultimately recycled.
- 36.9% annual energy savings. All electricity is supplied by renewable Texas wind through Austin Energy’s Green Choice
- 1.2 million tons of construction and demolition waste diverted from the landfill, a savings of 54%
- 508,000 gallons—an 85% savings–of building water, and 100% Irrigation Water savings, representing 670,000 gallons
- 34% of building materials contain recycled content, 14% sourced from within Texas
About Austin Energy® Green Building:
Austin Energy® Green Building’s mission is to cultivate innovation in building and transportation for the enrichment of the community’s environmental, economic and human well-being. In 1991, AEGB developed the first rating system in the U.S. for evaluating the sustainability of buildings, creating a model for many other cities as well as the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification system. Today, AEGB continues to positively influence city policies and energy codes while raising public awareness and creating demand for sustainable building practices.
Slideshow photos by Lauren Slusher