This project will center on the installation of a planted Green Roof on a 1650 ft² section of flat roof at the Student Union Building. This tri-leveled piece of roof is located due south of room 210A on the south west corner of the building. The roof is a very suitable site due in part to its smaller size, it lays in part shade, is structurally capable of holding the additional load that will be added by the materials that would be applied to it and is sheltered from high winds. It is very accessible and can easily be visited by the design, construction, maintenance and research personnel necessary for its completion. It also is bound by a sizeable catwalk that will be used for public observation of the project. The project will provide valuable learning and research opportunities for academic and non-academic student groups and University staff and faculty.
Our proposed project is to remove the existing roofing ballast of an approximately 1650 ft² section of flat roof on the Student Union Building and replace it with an earth and vegetation “living” Green Roof. Since the Student Union Building is a mixed use building and is supported in part by student fees, its administrative group has more authority over physical changes that are requested of it. Architectural or structural changes of this type must be approved by UI Facilities Architectural and Engineering Services. This approval has already been received.
The main goal of the construction of our Green Roof will be to demonstrate to our University administrators and the University community on the whole that current buildings can be retrofitted from old, sizzling hot conventional roofs to more environmentally friendly areas that will have a distinct role in diminishing the urban “heat island” effect on campus. In doing this, the University will be losing an ugly, rock-covered roof and gaining an attractive plant filled area that can be observed by all.
It is our contention that this project will become a very popular area to casually observe, study and use as a research tool (used by diverse academic departments), all while supplying the University with a model that can be duplicated on other existing roofs as well as being designed into future new building projects.
The anticipated success of this project will also send a message to the community that may lead to incentive plans provided by the City of Moscow, Latah County, the State of Idaho and many other agencies and philanthropic organizations. These potential future incentives could come in the form of matching funds for grants and cash incentives that would promote similar future projects.
We also feel that this area will immediately become a very popular site to view by curiosity seekers who have found out about it from the various promotional and informational items that will be spread around the community and the region in the way of media exposure. This exposure alone will promote more projects like ours on campus and in the surrounding community in the future. Our project already has the support of many individuals including staff, faculty and students and local government decision-makers. There can be no doubt that this project will draw considerable attention from within our region prompting a domino effect that will spread and advance campus sustainability.
Architecture that promotes sustainability is currently absent on the campus of the University of Idaho. In keeping with President White’s Plan for Renewal and the University’s hunger to become a role model for other institutions in our region, we propose to develop a very small but visible piece of campus into a living project that will provide learning opportunities for our students, staff, faculty and community members. This project will be the first of its kind in our community and can be justified by its many benefits to our learning community and the environment surrounding it. Some of the anticipated benefits of this project are:
Reduce the load on our sewer system by diminishing, and sometimes halting completely, the rush of runoff from a section of roof.
Provide an additional layer of insulation, which will also help protect the actual roof material from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and this area’s extreme daily temperature fluctuations, which may actually increase the life of the roof membrane.
Improve the quality of storm water runoff.
Provide additional habitat for insects, birds and other small animals.
Turn an unattractive section of roof into an accessible, appealing atmosphere that can be shared by the entire community, especially those neighbors who would be able to now include it in their view.
Help prove the point that this example of sustainable architectural design actually provides an economical benefit to its owner, justifying its higher initial cost.
Re-oxygenate the air.
Reduce the urban heat island effect. The surfaces of green roofs filter and bind dust and other harmful materials out of the community’s air. Moreover, landscaped roofs improve the microclimate by cooling and humidifying the surrounding air.
Limit noise transmission.
Allow for an opportunity to experiment with different types of plants, native and otherwise, to see what works best in this area and to establish a benchmark for future green roof development on campus and within the community.
Offer an attractive alternative to traditional roofs while addressing growing concerns about our urban quality of life.
Offer sustainable and regenerative roof landscapes where once we had barren deserts of tar, gravel and rock.
Following the installation of the Green Roof, we anticipate that a number of different colleges and departments will find uses for it as a study and research tool. Initially, we intend to monitor its performance in 3 ways:
Storm Water Run-off Volume Mitigation. We intend to comparatively meter the out-flow of the roof drains from the Green Roof and other existing roof drains. After considering the roof capture areas of each drain, we will be able to draw conclusions about the amount of water that the Green Roof retains and releases back into the atmosphere. Since the water that does actually run off of the Green Roof will be captured in a cistern and reused to irrigate the roof via a pump driven drip-leg irrigation system, we anticipate that very little, if any of this water will ever reach the municipal sewage treatment plant. Projections can then be made about other potential green roof applications around campus.
Overall Water Quality Analysis. We intend to capture water run-off from the Green Roof and existing roof drains and test each sample for comparative analysis to see how effective the Green Roof is as a pollutant filtering system. There are a number of potential measurements that can be made.
Ambient Air Differential. We intend to measure the comparative air temperatures (both inside and outside) to test the Green Roof’s effectiveness at controlling and moderating air temperatures. We anticipate that the Green Roof will show dramatic thermal insulating benefits between outside and inside air -- particularly in the summer months. And, we anticipate that external air temperature testing at the roof surface will demonstrate significant differences in ambient air temperatures – indicating the benefit of a green roof for mitigating so called “urban heat islands."
Because of its visibility and relatively easy access, we believe that very soon other colleges and departments will find reasons to use our Green Roof as a laboratory. As examples, we could see the Green Roof being used as a location for delicate or native plant species cultivation, entomology studies, etc. It will provide an excellent controlled location for numerous exercises and experiments.
The UI students that are going to be involved in this project are very excited about sharing the environmental, social and economic benefits of this project with the campus community. These results will be shared in the way of open forums and hands on observations of the site. This group will also be providing a much needed boost in labor to help construct the overall project. Observation will be the key to the success of this living entity.
October 15, 2007 to November 30, 2007
Make demolition plan; document existing roofing, structure and drainage system; identify recycling potential for discarded building material; verify local codes.
Finalize design, including drainage, collection cistern and captured water irrigation systems.
Finalize design, including green roof detailing, plant material specifications and water and air quality testing systems. Order all materials.
February and March, 2008
Start interior work, including drainage and cistern connections and the installation of flow meters. Weather permitting, start demolition and relocation of existing river rock roof ballast.
Finish demolition, if necessary. Begin construction by applying modular green roof components.
Install drip leg irrigation system. Plant chosen vegetation.
This is an aggressive timeline and may be extended due to weather and other factors. A completion date of June 30, 2008 will be satisfied without doubt.
This Green Roof project will continue to grow, literally, alongside other sustainability projects here on campus. As different species of plants are tried on this section of roof, the best for this type of application will be discovered and set the standard for use in similar situations on campus, in the community and throughout the region. The accessibility of this roof will make it an easy site to observe and to continually monitor for research purposes.
The staff of the Idaho Commons and Student Union will be dedicated to maintain the area just as it was part of the building and their regular duties. Maintenance needs should be minimal, but we will always have the staff and resources to take care of the site since it will now be included in a budget line item within our Building Services operation.
The uniqueness of this project will give the UI campus community a great opportunity to monitor it 12 months of the year. Each season will give us a perspective that will differ very much from the previous one. Some seasons will allow us to watch a high level of activity, while others will demonstrate a lull in activity, but still give us the opportunity to interact with the system and learn from it. Each of the 3 initial testing and evaluating categories will be monitored individually by the participants as described earlier in the proposal. Periodic reports will be produced identifying the results of each testing program. A document will be compiled biannually, reporting on overall test results for all three categories. Annually, a cost/benefit analysis will be completed, testing the green roof cost benefits as compared to construction costs.
The mini-ecosystem that this roof will become should show a positive and drastic change in both the air and water quality within its own little area. Along with the much lower temperatures that we will be experiencing at the roof level in this area, we expect to be able to monitor this evolving ecosystem for many years to come.
The majority of the tasks required for the completion of this project will be provided by students enrolled in the various departments represented herein with an emphasis on those involved within the departments encompassed by the Idaho Commons and Student Union. The students will be guided and directed by the following:
Idaho Commons and Student Union
Mark Miller, Assistant Director
Mark will be the main administrator for the project and will own and oversee the project from inception to completion. After the construction is complete and the project is in demonstration, Mark will serve as the day-to-day project manager and he and his staff will monitor the Total Discharge Testing and maintain the project’s mechanical aspects.
School of Architecture and Interior Design
Bruce Haglund, Professor
Bruce is the Green Architecture and Sustainable Development techniques specialist on the faculty of Architecture and Interior Design. Therefore, he will provide specialized design consultation in Green Roof construction details. Bruce will initially oversee the Ambient Air Testing Program.
School of Landscape Architecture
Steve Drown, Chair
Gary Austin, Professor
Steve and Gary both have professional and academic experience in designing green roofs and roof gardens. Steve and Gary will provide technical expertise as well as plant selection specifications.
College of Art and Architecture
Jay Pengilly, Technical Shop Director
Jay will manage any ‘shop-built’ items that will be required and provide shop space and tools necessary to complete the work. And, as a former construction contractor, Jay will oversee the site work and labor management.
Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering
Jan Boll, Associate Professor
As a Professor specializing in Environmental Water Quality, and the current lead researcher on the Water of the West (WoW) Initiative, Jan is ideally suited to direct the water quality testing aspects of this project. He will oversee equipment specifications and testing methodology.
Mark is currently the Assistant Director for Facilities and Operations for the Idaho Commons/TLC and Student Union. This position requires the personal oversight of all three of these facilities, which comprise approximately 250,000 ft² of space. He has a high interest in landscaping and has designed and developed all of the finished outside areas at his own home, which were all barren clay soil to start with. Within his designs, he has incorporated many sustainable systems including rainwater collection, gabion basket retaining walls and the use of recycled decking products.
Tara is currently the Social Action Programs intern within the ASUI Center for Volunteerism & Social Action. The mission of her board is to carry on and continue to bring quality programming to campus to promote engagement in local, national and global issues, including sustainability initiatives. They will also support students seeking to serve as advocates for these issues. In March 2007 the center and the board collaborated to bring the inaugural Social Action Summit to campus, which included guest speaker Paul Loeb.
Areas of Focus: Sustainable Architecture, Environmental Technology, Daylighting, and Design
Education: MArch, University of Oregon, 1982; BS Math, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1968
Experience: Chair, Department of Architecture, University of Idaho, 1993 – 1999; Professor of Architecture, University of Idaho, 1982 – present
Teaches sustainable principles of site design to his LA students. He also serves as co-PI with Steve Hollenhorst of the Building Sustainable Communities initiative, which is establishing an M.S. degree in BioRegional Planning and Community Design, and an outreach program to assist Idaho communities and professionals with sustainable planning challenges.
Gary has a degree in history and a masters in Landscape Architecture from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He has worked for the Army Corps of Engineers as a civilian recreation planner and landscape architect, then worked for a private landscape architecture firm (Purkiss-Rose Associates in Fullerton, CA) until he got his license and began teaching part time. He taught at UCLA and Cal Poly for a couple of years and then moved to Seattle where he taught at the University of Washington. He began a tenure track position at the University of Idaho in 1991.
Jay is the master craftsman that directs the department of Art and Design technical shop. Together with his crew of highly trained helpers Jay helps hundreds of students each year to plan and complete class projects. He provides training sessions for students in all disciplines in the College of CLASS and oversees the Department of Art & Design’s technical faculties in sculpture and the Graduate Art Studios (G.A.S. House).
Specialties include teaching in the areas of environmental water quality, hydrology, and irrigation and water management. Research areas include water and pollutant (nutrients, micro-organisms, and other chemicals) transport modeling, GIS applications, water quality monitoring, hydrology, soil and water engineering, watershed management, and whole farm planning. Career goal is to provide land owners in agriculture with sound management options to prevent or reduce water pollution while maintaining economic viability.
With the physical help of David and Sam, we were able to remove about half of the river rock ballast off of the roof. The waterproofing membrane is in surprisingly good shape. There was an amazingly high amount of dirt and mud mixed in with the rock and there wasn’t nearly as much broken glass on the roof as we had expected. We had to wait awhile for the sun to hit the surface before we could start working because things were still frozen. We should be able to get the rest of the rock off on March 29, weather permitting.
We were able to get the rest of the river rock ballast off of the roof today. Greg Uhrich, Cody Newbill and Harshana Thimmanna were a great help in getting this completed. Steps are now being taken to give the roof surface a final cleaning and it will be inspected thoroughly to check for any damage. The site has been selected as a work project for ASUI’s Saturday of Service and we expect to be able to start applying some of the actual green roof components at that time.
It leaks! After getting the entire roof completed, other than the final planting, we were surprised to find out that the original water proofing membrane for the roof leaked. This was very frustrating since we had gone through a very thorough testing regiment. The different areas of the roof now needed to be disassembled, inspected, repaired and tested again. Little did we know that this would take us several weeks to complete and that we would need to hire a flat roof specialist from Spokane to assist us. The picture shown below depicts the main section of the roof after most of the components had been stripped from it. After eight hours of crawling around on our hands and knees and the patching of many spots that we thought could be problem areas, we determined that it was again time to test. Our testing was successful and we started to put this section back together.
Nothing happens quickly on this project, but we are finally nearing completion. With a limited volunteer base, the work of putting things back together has been shouldered by a few dedicated souls. A special thanks needs to go out to Clarence Catt at this time. Without his help, we would still be struggling with the reconstruction. The pictures below show the main level in its “ready to be planted” state.
The summer of 2009 didn’t provide a huge amount of growth for our plants, but we did achieve almost a 100% survival rate. Judging from the amount of growth that we saw in the spring, I would expect that some areas will be completely filled in by this time next year. One thing that was very positive for us this summer is that we only irrigated the roof about four times, and I think that the plants would have done just fine without that. We might have to give some thought as to what we can do with all of the rainwater that we are collecting since we don’t have a way to keep it from freezing during the winter months. One of the main objectives of this project was to keep this water from reaching Paradise Creek, even though it is currently of much higher quality than if it hadn’t been run through the green roof components. We are still hoping that someone will show an interest in doing some true research in the near future using this project.