Aiken’s roof to be green


Newly renovated George D. Aiken Center, as of this year, is currently constructing a green roof with research capability.

With eight separate watersheds and 72 different temperature probes currently in development, the research and demonstration opportunities are vast, said Gary Hawley.

The Aiken project has been in the works for 10 years in effort to improve the environmental inefficiency of the 28-year-old building.

Hawley took the lead in writing the grant proposal for construction of the roof, and in turn was granted funding to set it up as an experimental green roof, said Alan Mccintosh.

“Green roofs, are nothing new, there all over the place, but why ours is a bit different, is that we have eight separate systems that are drained independently. So we can collect water from any of those eight separate plots and do water quality testing on it” said Mccintosh.

With the ability to manipulate and test the eight subwater sheds in different ways, the Aiken has the ability to conduct research in effort to provide the green building community information to improve green roofs of the future, said Hawley.

“We knew we wanted a really green building, but we also wanted to be a demonstration project to a degree to show people and document the effectiveness of some of these green aspects” Hawley said.

With limited access to the green roof and its facilities, a webcam is going to be installed so viewing of the construction and use of the facilities can be seen by all.

“I would like to see it as an important teaching tool,” said Hawley.

Four research projects ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency, to the Northeastern States Research Cooperative are helping to fund the green roof development, he said.

“I think we have about $80,000 worth that will go on the roof of this building,” he said. However that’s post discount.

“You pay by the square foot. And we were fortunate. The company kind of put it out for bid, I talked with a whole bunch of companies, and the company we ended up going with gave us about a third discount,” Hawley said.

Weston Solutions Incorporated, located in Glastonbury Connecticut is constructing the Aiken Center’s Green roof, however, UVM students have had the opportunity to get involved in the planning and actual construction of the facilities, said Hawley.

“We have a program called greening Aiken interns, we have 40 students this semester, some of them are working on the green roof, some are working on the living machine,” Hawley said.

Most of the work the students will be working on this semester is calibrating the roof and recording baseline data to help compare effectiveness of each specific watershed, he said

Gary’s hope is to have the roof functional in the summer, but would really like to see students involved in actually assembling the watershed plants.

“I’m loving what there doing to the building, above and below,” professor Lawrence Forcier said.

Construction on the green roof at the Aiken Center is to approximately continue until September of 2012. However, constant construction changes will occur for the next few years as research involving the watershed continues to develop.