Developing a Turnkey Vegetative, Substrate and Container Assembly for use with Residential and Commercial Extensive Roofs in New England and Southeast Canada

EPA Grant Number: SU832481
Title: Developing a Turnkey Vegetative, Substrate and Container Assembly for use with Residential and Commercial Extensive Roofs in New England and Southeast Canada
Investigators: Durant, John , Felberg, Ross , Licht, Jeff , Swan, Chris
Current Investigators: Swan, Chris
Institution: Tufts University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2005 through May 30, 2006
Project Amount: $9,792
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The green roof industry has begun to develop regional applications specific to the Western, Middle and Southeast U.S. but few, if any, for the Northeast. In fact, EPA has just begun this process in Boston, MA. The mission for our students is to expand on the EPA or other efforts in our region. They will not only help identify regional species appropriate for eco roofs but test them in conjunction with proprietary recycled aggregate and forest products in shallow, ultralight HDPE containers. If successful, students will help pioneer a substantial environmentally and regionally appropriate assembly system for future applications over a vast geographic region.


During Phase 1 of the P3 project period, the Tufts Eco-Roof Team will design, build, install and monitor a turnkey system. Many of the structural components will be supplied by three commercial vendors engaged in international green roof construction. Between six and ten flat and slightly pitched model roofs will be erected and planted with the containers, substrate and plants. In Phase 2, the team will assess pH and evapotranspiration, presence of contaminants, solar heat flux, groundcover growth, ease of plant maintenance and longevity. Of special interest are non-CAM plant subjects which will be compared with CAM plants which are typically used in research in other parts of the United States.

Expected Results:

The following results are expected: (a) a majority of the forbs, grasses, sedges and perennials evaluated by the team will thrive in at least three of the four imposed shallow substrate conditions; (b) extensive lateral root systems will develop even in the shallow containers; and (c) some plants from the Asteraceae, Carophyllaceae, Lamiaceae and Violaceae families will demonstrate the ability to accumulate toxic metals from the soil. In addition, data will be made available to and compared with data collected by EPA in Region 1.

Supplemental Keywords:

storm water, contaminants, evaportranspiration, CAM, media, aggregate, Region 1,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, energy conservation, cleaner production, ecological design, environmental conscious construction, green building design, alternative building technology, green roof, alternative materials, energy efficiency, pollution prevention design, architecture

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report