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Read more in the July 2006 Guest Feature by Drew Mather. For project information contact Dr. Robert Berghage at: 814.863.2190 or Visit the Penn State Center for Green Roof Research website.

The greenroof plants were planted in September, 2001, but the Penn State Green Roof Research Center was finalized in the summer of 2002 and now offers graduate and undergraduate students many learning opportunities. Formerly led by Dr. David Beattie, Associate Professor of Ornamental Horticulture and Director, Center for Green Roof Research, the current Center Director is Dr. Robert Berghage, also an associate professor in horticulture. Located in the department of Horticulture in the College of Agricultural Sciences, the Center’s Mission Statement seeks to demonstrate and promote green roof research, education, and technology transfer in the Northeastern U.S.

The six small (6x8ft) research buildings are located at Penn State University’s Russel Larson Agricultural Research Center and involve three extensive greenroofs and three non-greened asphalt roofs; each has a heater and a/c unit. The green roofs are a modified layer system utilizing a .75″ drainage layer (Enkadrain 9615, Colbond, Enka, NC). The Enkadrain drainage layer is overlain with 3.5″ of an expanded clay-based mineral growing medium (Hydrolite, Garick Corp., Pittsburgh, PA), and covered with Porous Expanded Poly Propylene (PEPP). The slope of all roofs is 8.33% (1:12), and the buildings are oriented in a north-south direction. The green roofs are vegetated mainly with Sedum spurium Bieb. with some Sedum album L. and Delosperma nubigenum (Schltr.) L. Bol. and have covered 100% of the surface. The greenroof plants were watered to become established, but are not planned to receive additional watering. A weather station collects ambient environmental data for all buildings, including data on rainfall, energy usage, solar radiation, temperature, wind speed and direction.Plants will also be studied for their tolerances to drought, and high and low temperatures. Plant evaluations will be performed for physiological, biological, and ecological factors influencing plant survival. Roof function will be researched as well.The Center received additional funding from American Hydrotech in September of 2005. This funding has enabled the Center to effectively double its data gathering capacity at the Rock Springs research site. Known as the HB (Hydrotech Building), its roof now boasts two 1:12 slopes, one facing north and the other south, with an effective roof area of 27.9 m2 (288 ft2), equal to all of the original six buildings’ roof areas combined.


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