Floating Island on a Roof for Rainwater Management

EPA Grant Number: SU835712
Title: Floating Island on a Roof for Rainwater Management
Investigators: Alford, Celena , Gayle, Godfrey , Keefer, Madeline , Reyes, Manuel , Armstrong, Morris , Mendoza, Vanessa
Current Investigators: Alford, Celena , Le, Kieu Ngoc , Sulliman, Ahmed , Reynolds, Andray , Mention, Christina , Lee, Clinton , Johnson, Evan , Gayle, Godfrey , Boyd, Jawari , Keefer, Madeline , Reyes, Manuel , Powell, Marquez , Armstrong, Morris , Powell, Robert , Mendoza, Vanessa , Doan, Yen
Institution: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2014 through August 14, 2015
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Two major issues large cities are presently facing are storm water management and loss of green spaces. Urbanization increases impervious surfaces which increase the amount of untreated rainwater directly running off in rivers, lakes and seas instead of infiltrating in porous soil; and decreases area for vegetation, resulting in loss of biological diversity and also creating an urban heat island.


Our objective is to reduce runoff from roofs, and provide biological diversity in urban areas.


Our approach is to design, FIR, a ‘Floating Island on a Roof.’ We will use a floating material, called floating island, which is made of foam and recycled plastic fiber and proven to be a good plant growing medium for several floral species. Our design consists of a pond on a roof with a floating island. We will modify an existing green roof, the size of a typical porch, located at N.C. A&T’s biological engineering building. We will convert the roof into a pond and grow a biologically diverse flora on the floating island. Rainwater draining from a building will be diverted to FIR. FIR water level and quality will be managed to: (i) store and slowly release rainwater so it infiltrates on a pervious surface, (ii) supply water for plants growing on the floating island, (iii) harvest rainwater for irrigation and, (iv) provide good quality water to fish and other fauna. As a measure of biological diversity, we will identify flora that grows well, and fauna that visits or lives in floating island roof. We will also measure water that goes in and out of FIR.

Expected Results:

Our expected results are FIR will reduce runoff from roofs and increase green space and biodiversity in urban or built environments. FIR will be used as roofs of porches in residential homes and apartments to treat stormwater, promote biological diversity, and mitigate urban heat island.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 2 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

bioretention pond, raingarden, green roof

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report