The Xero Flor product was installed on a 1,000-square-foot section of roof on W. Kerr Scott Hall, home to Appalachian’s Department of Technology. It’s part of $5.34 million in energy-saving projects that have been implemented across campus.
“The benefits of a green roof are numerous,” said Jerry Marshall, engineer for Appalachian’s Physical Plant. “There are many environmental benefits as well as student research and learning opportunities.”
Environmental benefits include preserving the lifetime of the building’s roof; improving insulation of the building, keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter; taking excess carbon out of the air and producing more oxygen; and managing storm water runoff. Green roofs also provide aesthetics and community beautification.
The installation process included installing four pre-formed membranes:a root barrier to prevent roots from vegetation from destroying building components; a drainage mat that allows excess water to drain below the vegetated layers; a retention fleece that facilitates water distribution and storage within the root zone; and a growing medium plus pre-vegetated mat with sedum, moss and native vegetation, such as grasses, to promote growth. The total thickness is about three to five inches.
Other projects included replacing or improving some heating and air conditioning units on campus, installing efficient lighting in various campus buildings and installing a solar thermal water heating system for Varsity Gym. Lighting occupancy sensors and water conservation measures such as low flow aerators and low flow toilets were installed in some buildings. An automated system was installed in eight office and academic buildings on campus to adjust heat or air conditioning when they are unoccupied at night.
The measures are expected to save at least $600,000 a year in energy costs.