A technology originally conceived in Germany, green roofs consist of small plants and microorganisms that provide alternatives to traditional roofing systems. Green roofs are only developed on man-made structures.
Since capturing a Best of Show Award at the 2002 Philadelphia Flower Show in the Academic Educational category, Temple professor Sinclair Adam said the green roof has garnered strong interest from the community and PECO Energy.
In a press release, PECO president Denis O’Brien said, “Green roof technology can play an important role environmentally and we are proud to sponsor the Green Roof Garden at Temple University’s Ambler campus.
The education and research opportunities this green roof garden will highlight PECO’s continued commitment to our region and the environment.”
But how receptive will Americans be to the idea of shingle-less rooftops?
“It’s very common in Europe, but not in the United States,” director of development Kathy Beveridge said. “It’s catching on, though it is still a rare thing.”
Students and professors will be able to use the green roof for research and educational means. During the 2004 spring semester, students will determine the best way to design the roof.
Moreover, Beveridge said, it’s also an advantage for students, who will be familiar with developing and maintaining this sort of environment.
“It’s a great resource to our students,” she said. “In the future, they will know how to spread the technology.”
Only two other universities, North Carolina State and Carnegie Mellon, have installed green roofs, according to Adam. Temple will now join this group.
Green roofs can be installed at any time of the year, however, planting must be done at specific time periods. Green roofs, however, are not always green. Since leaves change colors at different times throughout the year, the roofs can appear red, orange or yellow.
Two types can be installed: intensive or extensive. Ambler will have an extensive green roof, which is less expensive and requires less maintenance.
Beveridge listed a number of advantages the green roof will bring to Ambler campus.
“It also filters storm water,” she said. “It can detract heat, as opposed to traditional black roofs that allow heat in. It’s great for water and energy conservation.”
News of the PECO grant has Adam hopeful that green roofs will become more popular in the United States. He said roofing companies are resistant to the concept of green roofs, mostly because it could cut into their profits.
“It’s still a foreign concept, I think that’s going to be pretty well-received,” Adam said. “There’s an argument of resistance, they [roofers] come up with excuses for not using it, saying that it won’t last. But facts are different.”
Green roofs are used all over Europe and are mandatory in some countries.
But the matter of when construction will begin and conclude is still undetermined at this time, Adam said.
With both men’s and women’s soccer teams slated to use Ambler campus for practice and games next year, the locker rooms and coaches offices will be home to the green roof, Adam said.
PECO and Temple professors will monitor the use of gas and kilowatts in the building. This will allow them to determine how energy efficient the green roof works.
Jason Haslam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.