Last month, the University of Delaware unveiled its innovative green rooftop addition. The University’s Colburn Laboratory classrooms have now begun to reap the benefits from the first phase of the building’s environmentally-friendly green roof, with the help of public-private grants and donations.
Due to the Colburn Lab’s aging 1960s one-story structure, the building was notoriously over-heated. The 600 engineering students who frequent the building’s classrooms, regularly experienced temperatures of upwards of 86 degrees. This was primarily blamed on the heat transfer from southern exposure, large panels of glass windows and a flat roof.
These unfortunate and uncomfortable learning conditions sparked the imagination of two University engineering professors, who teamed with a landscape design professor to explore their options. The professor think-tank developed a plan for a green, growing roof, with multiple proposed benefits:
– Reducing indoor heat by an estimated six degrees or more thanks to four-inch deep rooftop planters
– Improving nearby water quality by collecting storm water runoff
– Teaching students green engineering solutions in a living classroom
– Improving air quality and reducing operating costs of existing HVAC system
Following a year of planning, generous help from the local community and Girl Scouts, plus a $60,000 cash injection, over 1,200 square feet of roof space have already been covered with two-foot by two-foot movable planters.
“The Colburn lab green roof exemplifies what happens when several groups work together and follow through on a good idea. Simple in design and big in impact, these useful and beautiful plantings are a great addition to Colburn Lab,” said Robin W. Morgan, Dean of the University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
By June, the University expects to have completed the project, with 2,600 square feet of the roof dedicated to green planters, and the remaining area occupied by recycled rubber access paths, safety railings and mechanical equipment.
For more information about the University of Delaware’s green roof project, read the entire story here.