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Regis High School is located at 55 East 84th Street, New York, NY 10028; 212.288.1100; visit their website; Green Roof page; and their live Green Roof Data page. Watch the 2:19 Regis High School in New York City – Project of the Week 9/7/15 video from on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube. Project of the Week video photo credits: All courtesy of Greensulate except for the Regis High School outside facade: “Regis HS E84 St sunny jeh” by Jim.hendersonOwn work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

See the project profile from Greensulate. See the August 2011 3:49 video Best Green Roofs in NYC by David Ferris which has footage of the Regis High School, in addition to: Zeckendorf Towers & Condominiums, Cook+Fox Architects, Brooklyn Grange, U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Morgan Processing and Distribution Center, and a residential rooftop garden in Park Slope.

Read the September 2014 Evaluation of Green Roof Water Quantity and Quality Performance in an Urban Climate by many contributors published by the U.S. EPA where Regis High School was one of seven NYC buildings instrumented for the study; July 2012 NASA & Green Roof Research: Utilizing New Technologies to Update an Old Concept by NASA; December 16, 2011 From roof to hearts, greening at Regis High School, New York, USA by Philipp Judge, SJ in ecojesuit; October 20, 2010 Regis High School Starts at the Top in Going ‘Green’ by Juliann DosSantos in Catholic New York and the October 7, 2010 Rep. Maloney Celebrates a New Green Roof at Regis High School Press Release from Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. Greensulate is based in New York City; for more information contact them at, call 800.613.3180, or visit

Founded in 1914 by a formerly anonymous benefactor (Julia M. Grant, the widow of Mayor Hugh J. Grant) and supported by the generosity of her family, its alumni and friends, Regis High School is a five story landmark private Jesuit university-preparatory school located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Regis High School offers a tuition free education to Roman Catholic young men who devote the advantages of their education to the service of society and the underprivileged.

Regis High School has been dedicated to intelligently addressing the impacts of climate change for over 10 years, when it initially began its efforts to “green” Regis – an effort to not only save money by conserving energy, but also by responding responsibly and ethically to the environmental issues facing today’s world.

In 2010, Regis High School completed its ambitious Green Roof Project, when Greensulate finished the installation of nearly 25,000 square feet of an extensive green roof on its upper roofs in time for the Regis 2010-2011 school year. The roof top project, which includes a 20kW solar panel array, also houses two bee hives, a classroom, scientific monitoring equipment, a weather station, green roof temperature and soil moisture monitoring stands, a flow rate measurement system, biodiversity monitoring equipment, and an astronomy observation area. A network of paths and platforms connect the stations, making the space easy to navigate.

A physical classroom on the roof itself houses scientific monitoring equipment, along with the school’s telescope and other classroom materials. The size and design of the roof was groundbreaking, as it was the 2nd largest green roof in the city when it was completed, and is now the 5th largest green roof in Manhattan (as of summer, 2015). The beautiful design reflects a natural New York City estuary system from above.

In 2011, the Regis High School green roof was awarded the Sustainability Award from the Upper East Side Historic District, for significant achievement in the preservation of rich architectural heritage and the cultural legacy of New York City’s Upper East Side. The award, commemorative plaques, as well as the “Roof Rules” include some of the informational signage on the rooptop.

Greensulate’s green roof is a perfect addition to the curriculum and to supporting the goals of the school. Rev. Philip Judge, SJ ’80 and President of Regis at the time, was the driving force behind the innovative, forward thinking project. How does cultivating an enormous rooftop garden help Regis? The school says the following on its website (see below):

“By crowning the building with a thin layer of vegetation, Regis not only adds beautiful green space to Manhattan’s concrete jungle, but also improves its building “envelope”, effectively stabilizing its interior climate, thereby lowering the cost of cooling the building. In addition, green roofs tend to last about two and a half times longer than standard roofs, because the layer of vegetation shields the roof itself from weather damage. The environmental impact, on the other hand, is more obvious. Green roofs clean and cool the air as its plants consume carbon dioxide and emit oxygen in photosynthesis. They provide homes for the city’s insect and bird populations, thus increasing biodiversity. Green roofs also absorb storm water that would otherwise flow into the city’s sewer system, limiting the volume of runoff and preventing street floods and sewage spills.”

The extensive green roof substrate was designed and manufactured by Long Island Compost Corp. at 4 inches in depth (about 100 mm) and a blower truck was used to get the media to the roof. Greensulate’s green roof uses a mix of sedum mix, native grasses, native perennials, and wildflowers across the 2,000 m2, multi-level space to create a natural, outdoor feel amidst New York City’s urban backdrop. The native plant species consist of: Asclepias tuberosa, Baptisia tinctoria, Eupatorium, hyssopifolium, Panicum virgatum, Schizachyrium scoparium, Solidago nemoralis, Sorghastrum nutans, Symphyotrichum laeve, Danthonia spicata, Deschampsia flexuosa, Dichanthelium clandestinum, Eupatorium sesslifolium, Lespedeza hirta, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Rudbeckia hirta, and Solidago odora. Greensulate designed and selected the plants for the plan replicating the original estuarial system of New York City. Dr. Matthew Palmer of Columbia University selected the plants for a small area of native plant study by considering two native shallow substrate environments.

The system does not require irrigation, and continues to be healthy and thriving five years after the initial installation (2015). Concrete pavers were installed adjacent to the 20 kW solar panel array to create space for an outdoor classroom for up to 15 students and a teacher. An herb garden is planted to provide chives, mint, oregano, lavender, sage, and more for the school cafeteria, and Trex decking pathways provide easy access throughout the roof. The raised HVAC system benefits from the cooling effect of the green roof, as do the solar panels, which are estimated to be 10-15% more efficient. Greensulate also maintains the green roof on an ongoing basis.

“With funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which Congresswoman Maloney supported, the National Science Foundation awarded Columbia University $476,000 to continue its work on comparing and evaluating the effectiveness of different green roof technologies. Columbia researchers hope the results will lead to improved scientific understanding of green roof performance, optimize its functionality, and provide insight into its potential benefits to human health, economic efficiency and pollution reduction. The Earth Institute at Columbia University has installed monitoring equipment on the roof at Regis High School and will be using the data it collects as part of its sustainability research,” (Rep. Maloney Celebrates a New Green Roof at Regis High School, 2010).

As part as the ongoing study with Columbia University, live green roof monitoring of the following can be seen on the Regis High School Green Roof Data page: Weather (Air Temperature, Relative Humidity, Windspeed, Barometric Pressure, and Net Radiation); Solar Panels (Status, Power, Energy Generation, Environmentals from Weather Station, and Environmental Benefits including Equivalents, Greenhouse Gases Avoided, and Carbon Offset); and Roof Cameras with photos from 3 different angles of the roof (North, East, and West views). Dr. Stuart Gaffin of Columbia University’s Center for Climate Systems Research has also been studying stormwater issues with its own scientific monitoring equipment on the two 38 m2 elevated roof sections. These areas are 65% vegetated, where non-vegetated areas consist of gravel ballast; see the 2014 EPA evaluation below.

***Greensulate will be providing a live tour of the Regis High School green roof on Thursday, October 8, 2015, during the 13th Annual Cities Alive Green Roof & Wall Conference in New York City. Greensulate will be shuttling groups over from the convention space at 2:30 pm, and space is limited. Learn more about the Cities Alive conference.***


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