News

Green Roofs Sprout Up Around Campus

screenshot-2016-10-07-07-26-28T. Rynne

Bulfinch Hall (pictured), as well as the Addison Galery and the Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center, have traded traditional roofing material for greenery.

Around campus over the past few years, traditional tar and gravel roofs have been transforming into vibrant grass lawns, an unorthodox style that has caught the eyes of many students.

“I think the coolest [green roof ] is the one on the Addison that has the glass sculpture on the green roof which is pretty cool… And in addition to being really cool and interesting to look at, I think they are also beneficial in terms of helping the environment. Because any green space is better than black space with asphalt,” said Alex Emerson ’17.

This collaboration with Recover Green Roofs, a designbuild firm specializing in the creation and maintenance of vegetated green roofs and other horticultural projects, has reduced Andover’s environmental impact while beautifying buildings.

Allison Guerette, Campus Sustainability Coordinator, said in an interview with The Phillipian, “I think that they are also beneficial because they show students, faculty, and the rest of the Andover community that there are other options than traditional roofing material, and that they demonstrate that they are both beautiful and functional and maybe folks will go and consider them for other projects in the future.”

“I think the coolest [green roof ] is the one on the Addison that has the glass sculpture on the green roof which is pretty cool… And in addition to being really cool and interesting to look at, I think they are also beneficial in terms of helping the environment. Because any green space is better than black space with asphalt,” said Alex Emerson ’17.

This collaboration with Recover Green Roofs, a designbuild firm specializing in the creation and maintenance of vegetated green roofs and other horticultural projects, has reduced Andover’s environmental impact while beautifying buildings. Allison Guerette, Campus Sustainability Coordinator, said in an interview with The Phillipian, “I think that they are also beneficial because they show students, faculty, and the rest of the Andover community that there are other options than traditional roofing material, and that they demonstrate that they are both beautiful and functional and maybe folks will go and consider them for other projects in the future.”

The Addison Gallery, Bulfinch Hall, and the Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center have all been equipped with the new green roofs. The lawns each feature a ZinCo green roof system covered with plugs of sedum, a type of succulent, that will slowly cover the entirety of the building’s roof.

Besides the potential for aesthetic enhancement by the flowering sedum plants, the roofs also function as a way to reduce water waste and air conditioning costs.

“Green roofs keep buildings much cooler than traditional buildings, so they reduce the amount of energy that is needed to cool the building, which has an environmental benefit. They also reduce runoff by capturing stormwater, and they help in mitigating climate change by reducing carbon,” said Guerette.

Green roofs are capable of improving the air quality by absorbing airborne particles and carbon dioxide while releasing oxygen. The system also works as a noise barrier by reducing external noise pollution.

“I think the inspiration was probably a little bit of both environmental and aesthetic. The first green roof was on the Addison Gallery, and there was a seating area that looked out onto a tar and gravel roof. It wasn’t really incredibly pretty to look at, and it also was in a part of campus where you can see the roof from outside, so it had multiple benefits,” said Guerette. To many students, the green roofs are a welcome addition on campus.

To many students, the green roofs are a welcome addition on campus.

“Green roofs on campus are great. It’s really good for maintaining temperature inside buildings,” said Emerson. “It is [a] very useful educational tool and just kind of [a] way to contribute to the whole Greener Blue on campus. I definitely hope to see more on campus in future buildings.”

Buildings must undergo review by a structural engineer or architect before the addition of a green roof in order to test their ability to support the heavy drainage systems. The roofs themselves require very little regular maintenance due to the ruggedness and self-sustainability of the sedum plants.

“If you [carefully plan] and put some thought into where you put green roofs, I don’t see any disadvantages,” said Guerette.

Guerette predicts that Andover will continue to install these living roofs to further its message of sustainability.

“I’m not aware of any current plans to install more green roofs, but I think that the campus in general has an appreciation for sustainability and the natural world, so I think that could lead to other roofs going green around campus,” said Guerette.

Oct 12, 2016