Moving Towards a Sustainable Campus: Design of a Green Roof Monitoring Experiment

EPA Grant Number: SU832507
Title: Moving Towards a Sustainable Campus: Design of a Green Roof Monitoring Experiment
Investigators: Reese, Margaret , Schaus, Maynard H. , Malcolm, Elizabeth
Current Investigators: Reese, Margaret , Schaus, Maynard H. , Malcolm, Elizabeth , Ozmon, Ivy , Dodds, Krystian , Rowe, Michelle , Redding, Tara , Brynildsen, Vickie
Institution: Virginia Wesleyan College
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: September 15, 2005 through April 30, 2006
Project Amount: $10,000
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 - Built Environment , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Virginia Wesleyan College is currently in the design phase for construction of a LEED®-certified science building to be built in 2009. We aim to reduce our impact on stormwater runoff, water pollution, energy use, global climate change, and urban heat island effects. The faculty has identified the new building as an opportunity for our students to learn about sustainable design and to contribute to the building plans. We are also challenged to maintain and upgrade the older buildings on campus with comparable goals.

One method to minimize the environmental impact of buildings is to install living green roofs. In this project students will design a green-roof experiment utilizing several dormitories on campus. We propose to design green roofs so that monitoring them will be an ongoing project for our students and produce results that can be transferred to other green roof designs.

Students will conduct a preliminary micro scale study of drainage treatments, plant species, and stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff will be analyzed for quantity, nutrients, and mercury content. The results of the preliminary study will be used to design a rooftop experiment that will investigate the best planting techniques for our hardiness region and to investigate the benefits of the green roofs to people, prosperity and planet. The results of monitoring and the planting experiment will also be beneficial to our industry partner for marketing and future installations. This study will allow us to further optimize a green roof design for our new science building.

The project will be carried out via class assignments and labs included in our science and mathematics courses and student-designed independent research. Our test plots will be adjacent to high foot-traffic areas of our campus; thus putting P3 concepts on display for the entire campus population.

Supplemental Keywords:

watersheds, precipitation, toxics, pollution prevention, sustainable development, environmental chemistry, monitoring, analytical, measurement methods, Chesapeake Bay, midatlantic, EPA Region 3,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, climate change, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, environmental monitoring, 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, environmentally conscious design

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report