On Earth Day, April 22, 2008, President Knapp signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, GW students pledged to take into account the social and environmental consequences of the organizations that they choose to work for, 10 cherry trees were planted, and the proposed installation of GW’s first Green Roof was announced.
The Green Roof came about through the hard work of the Business School graduate student group Net Impact and the GW Facilities Department. The goal of Net Impact is ‘to create a network of emerging business leaders committed to using the power of business to create a better world’. Their project for the 2007-2008 academic year was to create a Green Roof pilot project for GW. In their proposal, they identified academic applications, financial information, policy related information and guidelines for design, installation and maintenance. Net Impact identified $2,000 from the Class of 2007 Green Campus Fund and $5,000 from the Student Association Socially Responsible Initiatives Fund as part of the funding source. The remaining financial assistance and support was received from Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz. His support for this project really made it possible for the students’ dream of a Green Roof to become a reality.
The Green Roof is scheduled to be installed on Saturday, October 25th, 2008 on the roof terraces of the 1959 E Street Residence Hall and 1957 E Street Academic Building
Why E Street?
E Street was chosen because it provided high visibility for a pilot project of this sort. The planting is confined to the narrow area between the 1957 E Street 7th floor Conference Center and the Residence Hall to act as a buffer between the two while still allowing access along the railing for viewing from both academic and residential portions of the E street complex. This will make it convenient for a variety of students, staff and faculty to have an opportunity to watch the green roof develop. We also hope that residents of 1959 E Street will volunteer to participate in the on-going maintenance program.
What is a Green Roof – the Basics?
In the case of 1957/1959 E Street, the Green Roof is being retrofitted onto the existing roof since it was not included in the initial installation. The depth available for planting was one of the key factors for determining the best type of roof for this specific building.
Green Roofs have many environmentally beneficial qualities. First, they are a permeable surface in a location that usually is not. This means that when it rains, the growth medium and succulent plants called Sedum will be able to absorb some of the rainwater thus preventing it from going directly into the storm sewers. Also, a Green Roof can act as an insulator for both temperature and sound. This assists with the amount of energy used for heating and cooling the building. A Green Roof also reduces the temperature of the roof and provides a habitat for insects and butterflies. And finally, the Sedum that will grow on the Green Roof, like all plants, convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. And any little bit of carbon dioxide that we can capture will help in the fight against global warming!