Reading, Writing & Rooftops: New Albany-Plain Local Schools Take Learning to New Heights with LiveRoof Vegetated Roof
As spring finally arrives in central Ohio, students at New Albany-Plain Local Schools will have new R’s to study: a rooftop garden and rooftop greenhouse.
New Albany, OH April 6, 2015 — With the completion of the New Albany-Plain School District’s new 1-8 school and the arrival of warmer weather, students and staff will soon have an opportunity to explore the district’s newest learning lab, located on the school’s roof.
“New Albany-Plain Local Schools has a long-tradition of incorporating environmental stewardship as a major interdisciplinary strand in our district’s K-12 Course of Study,” said Michael Sawyers, Chief of Operations and Strategic Development. “From our Nature Preserve, incorporating Rose Run Stream and Swickard Woods, to our innovative summer camps and trips, teachers, students and community members use the nature preserve to learn through hands-on, inquiry-based and authentic experiences.”
To keep this vision growing, district leaders and community members through the design process chose to incorporate the LiveRoof® Hybrid System (http://www.liveroof.com) and a greenhouse into the plans for the new school building as it was designed in 2013. The 2500-square foot garden was designed by the architectural firm Moody Nolan and installed by Meade Construction. The living roof features native plants grown by Corso’s Perennials.
“I think the living roof is an excellent way for students to develop an understanding of energy conservation,” said District Environmental Science Coordinator Sandra Willmore, who was named a 2014 Outstanding Green Educator/Program Director by Green Schools. “For example, I envision teaching students how pioneers also used living roofs, or sod homes, because they were well-insulated. The same insulating value is true for our new school.”
The planted roof will also provide opportunities to explore native plants and conduct soil testing, Willmore added.
Green roofs provide natural function and beauty. (See Sidebar 1) A patented, subterranean modular system unites the soil and plants creating a naturally beautiful meadow-like aesthetic. The roofs offer benefits in addition to energy conservation, including:
- Creating a habitat where students can study plants, insects and songbirds
- Protecting local waterways by absorbing and filtering rainwater.
Financial benefits can also be achieved from a growing roof including: extension of roof life, energy conservation, enhanced public relations, and conservation of municipal septic systems. (See Sidebar 2)
LiveRoof systems can influence several Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) credits, including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.
Green Roof Benefits
Better Stormwater Management: Immediate stormwater runoff reduced by 50-90 percent. Green roofs filter rainwater water and act as a buffer against acid rain.
Longer Roof Life: Plants and soil serve as a protective shield and prevent UV radiation from degrading roof components. Fewer cracks and leaks. Waterproof membranes can last 200-300 percent longer.
Energy Conservation: On a sunny 95°F day, conventional rooftop surfaces can hit 175°F. By shading and insulating the rooftop, green roofs bring these temperatures in line with the ambient air temperature. They reduce indoor temperatures and energy consumption, especially for air condtioning in summer. That decreases costs for building owners.
Interior Noise Reduction: Lower indoor sound levels, as much as 40 decibels.
Urban Heat Island Effect Mitigation: Plants release oxygen and evaporate water. Green roof soil also evaporates water. That makes a green roof function like an evaporative cooling system. The combination of the umbrella effect (shading and insulating) and evaporative cooling moderate temperatures at street level.
Improved Air Quality: Every one square foot of green roof can filter about seven ounces of dust and smog particles per year. And through the process of photosynthesis, plants covert carbon dioxide, water and sunlight/energy into oxygen and glucose. This results in reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Enhanced Aesthetics: Green space is visually appealing and inviting. People feel better and are more productive when they have a natural view. Barren rooftops become habitable spaces with walkways, patios and seating and thereby add useable space to buildings.
Business Benefits: the Main Drivers for Building Green
Reduction in Operating Costs: On average, 13.6 percent for new buildings and 8.5 percent for retrofits
Increase in Building Values: On average, 10.9 percent for new buildings and 6.8 percent for retrofits
Increase in Return on Investment (ROI): On average, 9.9 percent for new buildings and 19.2 percent for retrofits.
Source: McGraw-Hill Construction, Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth