INDIANAPOLIS — Berrien Springs, Mich.-based Eco-Roofs recently installed the first green roof atop the four-story College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building at Butler University.
The installation took place in March with the assistance of Pat Maloney, a green roof professional at Eco-Roofs, as well as a crew of 15 volunteers that included Butler students. The team installed 650 trays of hardy and colorful sedum groundcovers on the college’s 1,300-square-foot rooftop in about an hour and a half.
“Eco-Roofs was very responsive to the needs and concerns of the University,” said campus engineer Rich Michal. “It was an excellent experience. We were pleased with the process and the product, and hope to include green roofs as part of several large building projects at the university over the next five to 10 years.”
Green roofs are expected to save the owner money and create an overall healthier environment for the area.
A building with a green roof will keep the interior of a building cooler and save the building in energy costs, Maloney said. It can reduce the urban island heating effect, in which asphalt, concrete or a black rubber roof retains heat.
“If you cover a roof with living plants it helps mitigate the temperature of the entire building,” Maloney said.
Green roofs also benefit storm water management and help prevent the overflow of sewage by retaining water.
“A lot of communities have combined sanitation and storm water sewer, so when it rains you have an influx of water going into this combined sewer system,” Maloney said. “Sometimes when there is heavy rain it can tax the system to the point where it’s overburdened and you have a raw sewage overflow.”
He added, “A green roof can delay that surge by 48 hours and help prevent overflows from happening by retaining the water on the roof. The water can then be reused for flushing toilets or irrigation.”
Although the price of the roof installation was unknown, Maloney said a green roof can typically cost $20 to $25 per square foot.
The roof will help students and faculty record data and also grow fresh vegetation on site, he said.
“They plan to observe and collect data for the economical and ecological impact of the green roof on the building,” he said. “They are looking forward to using less energy to run the building while also monitoring the ecological systems on the roof including plants and insects.”
Eco-Roofs has installed green roofs on five educational facilities to date, ranging from elementary to college campuses.