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Green roofs of sedum varieties are installed atop portions of Butler's dormitories A, C and D at Princeton University. A roof weather station is measuring heat flux, soil moisture and temperature.

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When the 283 Princeton undergraduates move into the Butler College dorms this September they will experience a new complex with sustainable design features, including green roofs on more than half of the buildings and a cistern to collect rainwater to irrigate the courtyard landscaping.

More than half of the Butler buildings have green roofs planted with 14 sedum varieties.

The Princeton University Campus Plan and Sustainability Plan, both completed in 2008, focus on improvements in infrastructure, transportation and open spaces. The mantra for campus development is, not surprisingly, sustainable growth. This means sustainable building design, expanded landscaping and reforestation, stream restoration, increased conservation and recycling, and improved water management.

Under the aegis of the Princeton Environmental Institute, studies will to be conducted over the next few years to allow researchers to collect data on how much energy is being conserved by the buildings' sustainable design. The building is estimated to be 30 percent more energy efficient than required construction codes. Much of the interiors are illuminated by natural light. Monitoring the reduction in stormwater runoff for the site should also provide interesting numbers. The green roofs will essentially be living laboratories.

The building architect is Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and the landscape architect is Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

Mark Burstein, Princeton's executive vice president, told the local media the "collaboration between the building architect and the landscape architect has set a new standard for Princeton.”

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November 19, 2019, 11:16 pm PDT

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