Implementation of Green Roof Sustainability in Arid Conditions

EPA Grant Number: SU833951
Title: Implementation of Green Roof Sustainability in Arid Conditions
Investigators: Aung, Hnin , Smith, Becky , Vijay, Shonika
Current Investigators: Jenkins, Bryan M. , Bhat, Ashwini , Botros, Christopher , Fong, Karen , Patel, Vishal , Valladares, Carmen , Watts, Andre
Institution: University of California - Davis
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2008 through August 14, 2009
Project Amount: $8,915
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


In various parts of the world, humans have successfully increased the energy efficiency of buildings by installing a rooftop of vegetation known as a green roof. Nevertheless, there have been limited studies concerning green roofs used in the most hot and arid parts of the southwestern United States, where their energy saving potential would be most valuable. Therefore, a design plan which incorporates green roof technology into an area of the United States where its feasibility has been inadequately researched is an important and necessary innovation.

It is the intent of this UC Davis engineering team to develop a method to determine the efficacy of green roofs in arid conditions through usage of scaled model buildings in a controlled environment chamber. This method will quantify the energy savings of a green roof in arid conditions. This will provide a novel small-scale approach to screen the suitability of environmental conditions for full-scale green roof establishment.


Results will be obtained through an experimental process using two accurately scaled-down models of single-story commercial buildings. Both model buildings will be housed in a controlled environment chamber set to conditions matching the diurnal cycles of Phoenix, Arizona. Each model building will be subjected to two roof treatments: simulated green roof (Hydro-Mat) and control. The results from the green roof treatment will be compared with results from the corresponding control treatment. A cost-benefit economic analysis will be conducted for the green-roof and traditional roof using the experimental data. The monetary savings from energy reduction will be determined using PG&E energy rates.

Expected Results:

The culmination of the Phase I project will be an economic feasibility study for a green roof system in Phoenix, Arizona.

Supplemental Keywords:

Sustainable development, Green building, Economics, Vegetated roof, Energy efficiency, Heat transfer,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report