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Innovative Green Roof at Grace College

The green roof at Grace College is innovative eco roof, designed to conserve water, trap heat and prevent storm runoff, among other benefits.

Did you know that the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex is home to a lush array of succulent plants, including sedum and allium varieties? Now, you might be picturing these thirsty and cold-hardy plants in the landscaping —do not be deceived; they are on the roof.

The green roof at Grace College is innovative and eco-friendly, designed to conserve water, trap heat and prevent storm runoff, among other benefits. The rooftop garden also adds an element of beauty to the architecture of the science complex. It covers over 1,000 square feet of roof area and holds up to 20 different types of succulent plant species.

“At the Lilly Center, we’re committed to protecting our county’s numerous lakes and streams,” said Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams. “You wouldn’t think a roof full of plants could further our mission, but it certainly does. The eco roof works to protect the lakes, not to mention providing several economic benefits to Grace College.”

Installation of the Green Roof
Large flats of hardy succulent plants, including sedum and allium varieties, wait to be installed on the roof of the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex’s circular classroom.

Eco Roof Benefits

1. The green roof will collect and filter storm water.

“Before rain leaves the roof and enters the lakes and streams, the plants in our green roof help remove pollutants,” Bosch said. “The roots act as a filter and sponge, pulling harmful materials from the water and allowing less water to run off the roof,” he explained. As a bonus, the green roof will rarely need to be watered with a hose. The plants are hardy enough to survive cold and warm seasons in addition to dry and rainy seasons, Bosch added.

Workers on the Green Roof
Volunteers, including Grace College staff and students, place flats of plants like puzzle pieces to create a green roof.

2. It serves as an eco-friendly heater and cooler. 

The green roof will extend the life of the roof and help keep the science complex warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. “There could be as much as a 10 percent heating and cooling savings for Grace College for the classroom under the green roof,” Bosch said.

 

3. Eco roofs help purify the air we breathe. 

The green roof does not contribute to the heat often produced by building and parking surfaces. The plants trap airborne dust and dirt before anyone breathes it in, effectively making the air cleaner.

Workers on the Green Roof

Learn more about the Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams and their other eco-friendly innovations taking place under the green roof in the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex. 

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Tagged With: Campus Life, Lakes and Streams, School of Arts & Sciences