Fanshawe College Installs First Green Roof
Fanshawe College has installed its first living 'green roof' above the newly co-located Career Services and Cooperative Education offices at the London campus, where hundreds of sedum - a drought-resistant perennial ground cover - now occupy over 850 square feet of rooftop space.
Planted on Thursday, June 17, 2010, the green roof is one of only a handful of its kind in the city, and though it may look like a summer patio, the space is actually part of Fanshawe's London campus grounds, maintained by students in the Horticulture Technician program.
"Fanshawe College is committed to sustainability and stewardship," said Harry Bakker, Director of Facilities Management. "More importantly, though, the installation of this new green roof presented an excellent opportunity to collaborate and provide Horticulture Technician students the hands-on experience to install evolving green technologies."
Program coordinator Michael Pascoe, together with technicians Jeff Rowley and Lucas Michielsen and Facilities Operations staff Gary Donaldson and Gord Dowler, took eight co-op students hired by the College for groundskeeping to the top of D1063 to install approximately 315 plant 'modules' on the newly resurfaced roof.
Paid for by the Fanshawe Student Union, the green roof will be the first of many sustainability projects funded directly through the Campus Improvement Fee, a non-instructional charge collected as part of every student's tuition payment.
"I chose to do my co-op at Fanshawe, because I feel like the College has more to offer me than anywhere else," said Dan Widmer, one of the first-year co-op students. "This experience is one example - I wouldn't have been able to do something this innovative at a greenhouse."
The plant modules, each filled with six different types of sedum, are part of a complex system designed to be waterproof and impenetrable while supporting drainage and root growth. The roof material and plants are designed to thrive in adverse weather, including Southwestern Ontario winters.
Engineers inspected the existing roof, which was leaky and due for replacement, and determined it was structurally capable of supporting the increased weight of the plants and irrigation system. The green roof was made possible in part with support from Kees Govers of Caradoc Green Roof, who spent the day with the co-op students, who each received training and professional certification in Green Roof installation.
"It was a great experience, because we got to see the whole process from start to finish, from visiting the nursery where the plants were grown to looking at the overall product once it was done," said student Sarah Gregory. "All of us worked as a team to make this happen, and it was great to see the final result."
First developed in Germany in the 1960s, green roofs have grown in popularity around the world, especially in the past decade. Green roofs have many benefits including noise reduction, energy savings, air quality improvements, and fire prevention. They also extend the life-expectancy of the roof and reduce what is known as the 'heat island' effect, resulting in better insulation during hot or cold weather and a general reduction of air conditioning or heating needs. The College also anticipates the living roof will help to retain storm water runoff, releasing rainwater slowly into the drainage system, rather than allowing the clean water to overwhelm sewer systems.
"Many of our stewardship initiatives are 'behind-the-scenes' improvements that go largely unnoticed," said Bakker. "Our green roof initiative is different in that it is there for everyone to see our campus going greener."
Employees interested in seeing the new rooftop green space, can get a look at it through the window glass in the second floor A-D link.
Fanshawe's new Centre for Applied Transportation Technologies at 1764 Oxford Street, funded in part by the Province of Ontario's Knowledge Infrastructure Program, will also feature a green roof with over 50,000 square feet of vegetation, in addition to several other leading-edge energy-efficient technologies.