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Purdue University's first sustainable green roof

Schleman Hall of Student Service Photo Purdue University

Warming Trends LAF

Purdue University's first sustainable green roof will be installed on the Schleman Hall of Student Services, thanks to support from the State Farm Insurance Co. youth advisory board.

Gary Elliott, State Farm administrative services manager, presented a check for more than $68,000 to representatives of Boiler Green Initiative, a student organization that focuses on evaluating and enhancing the sustainability of Purdue and surrounding communities. Initiative President Ryan P. Cambridge, a senior from Indianapolis majoring in landscape architecture, and Vice President Amelie Davis, a graduate student in forestry and natural resources, accepted the check on Feb. 23rd in Schleman Hall, Room B38.

Green roofs range from mossy vegetation to full-scale gardens, meadows or trees that grow on specialized structures atop buildings. Cambridge, who founded the initiative in 2006, wrote the grant and designed Schleman Hall's green roof layout. He and other members hope to install the roof system by May. "By installing and monitoring Purdue's first green roof, we will set a precedent for increased environmental responsibility on campus and provide a way for others to get hands-on experience with practices that lead toward a more sustainable future," Cambridge said. "We believe one of the biggest barriers to environmental change is lack of understanding by the general public. By creating a system that can be experienced firsthand, we can help eliminate that barrier."

Kim Wilson, landscape architecture professor and initiative adviser, said both Purdue and the environment would benefit from the new roof. "Besides being aesthetically pleasing, there are many advantages to installing green roofs," said Wilson. "They reduce storm water runoff and heat island effects. They also improve energy efficiency and substantially extend the life of the roof by protecting it from weather-related effects."

Elliott said Purdue's green roof projects are a good match for his company. "State Farm recognizes that being a good neighbor means being a green neighbor," Elliott said. "These forward-thinking community projects are just what we're looking for because the benefits of this investment can last a lifetime."

Cambridge said the Boiler Green Initiative's long-term goal is to install green roofs atop all new campus buildings and retrofit buildings with flat, newly resurfaced roofs. "Because the installation of a green roof system can more than double the cost of a regular rooftop, we're continually seeking grant support from environmentally friendly corporations such as State Farm, who want to help Purdue reduce its carbon footprint," Cambridge said.

Future plans call for green roofs on the Discovery Park research facility Mann Hall, the Purdue Armory and a portion of the horticulture building.

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November 20, 2019, 2:36 pm PDT

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