A unique learning experience is taking place atop a New York City high school. Sponsored by the New York Center for Architecture Foundation Program, students are building a green roof. The program?s goal is to help students understand how buildings are designed and constructed. And, with environmental issues and sustainability on everyone?s radar today, installing and analyzing a Green roofing system is a perfect fit. ?The students submitted three plans for the Green roof,? says Al Kurchin a design educator with the Center. ?We incorporated features from all three into the final design.?According to Kurchin, part of the green roof is an extensive system?several varieties of sedum are planted into approximately four inches of growth media, a blended mix composed of 80% Stalite and 20% screened organic material. However, students had to decide on either a built-in-place roof?building the entire Green roof directly atop the existing roof?or a modular system.
With the GreenGrid? modular system, the growth media and sedum are first planted into modules made of 60 percent recycled plastic. Then they are placed on the existing roof, making the installation fast and easy. ?Comparing the two systems, the students selected the modular system because it was so much more flexible,? says Kurchin. ?For instance, the modules can simply be picked up if the existing roof needs servicing. You can?t do that with a built-in-place system.?Also, the GreenGrid? modules make it easier for students to study the green roof?s benefits, like recording temperature swings and reducing storm water runoff. ?The modular system helps us turn the green roof into an ongoing educational project,? says Kurchin. ?The students can re-design the roof, carry out different research projects, and evaluate its benefits?just what the Center for Architecture is all about.? The School of the Future greenroof consists of an 800 square foot extensive modular section, which is part of the 4,000 sf geenroof.