Automated Hydroponic Green Roof with Rainwater Recycling Infrastructure for Residential and Commercial Buildings

EPA Grant Number: SU836133
Title: Automated Hydroponic Green Roof with Rainwater Recycling Infrastructure for Residential and Commercial Buildings
Investigators: Hwang, Hyun-Min
Institution: Texas Southern University
EPA Project Officer: Sergeant, Anne
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016
Project Amount: $14,949
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2015) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Awards , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Sustainability , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment

Objective:

Implementation of green roofs in Houston, TX and many urban areas is currently an unpopular concept due to various technical problems, including that many existing commercial and public buildings are not designed to accommodate conventional soil based green roofs. High initial installation cost and continuous maintenance like an irrigation system are additional limiting factors. In order to address these technical issues, this project will develop and evaluate attractive consumer-based and automated sustainable green roof with rainwater recycling infrastructure for commercial, governmental, and residential buildings to reduce energy consumption and flash flooding and to remove heavy metals and organic contaminants from rooftop stormwater runoff.

Approach:

This project will build a prototype model with a new and innovative green roof concept that is automated sustainable infrastructure, integrating rainwater harvesting unit, temperature and moisture monitoring sensors, and solar panels for hydroponic systems and drip cooling system. A rainwater recycling infrastructure will collect rooftop runoff in an underground cistern for geo-cooling and then circulate the water within a closed soil-free hydroponic system, avoiding waterborne pollutants from releasing into nearby watershed. Local K-12 students will be invited for tour this P3 site on campus to enhance their awareness on environmental sustainability.

Expected Results:

The expected output is a prototype of low-cost, automated, and sustainable green roof with rainwater recycling infrastructure and hydroponic system that can be easily installed for both commercial buildings and residential houses. Temperature reduction achieved by this green roof will be converted to energy savings that significantly contribute to mitigation of global warming by reduction of carbon dioxide emission. Removal of contaminants such as heavy metals and trace organic compounds in rooftop stormwater runoff will enhance local surface water quality. This project will increase community awareness on the benefits of green roofs and green roof adoption rates in urban areas. This project will also create entrepreneurial opportunities for students and community members as well.

Supplemental Keywords:

Energy conservation, Sustainable green roof, Rainwater harvesting, Underground cistern, Geo-cooling, Hydroponic system, Solar panel, Drip cooling, Urban heat island, Stormwater management