UCA Tests 'Green Roof' at Laney Hall

The University of Central Arkansas is testing a 2,000-SF "green roof" on Laney Hall to help officials determine green roof benefits and how they function.

About 2,000 SF of various types of seedum, a drought tolerant plant material, has been planted on the roof, selected as a pilot site because its able to support the weight of the project.

Seedum plants are drought tolerant and go down similar to grass sod. It grows to about 6 inches high.

Larry Lawrence, UCA's physical plant director, said that to support the seedum, the roof was re-covered with a premium, white reflective therma plastic roof layer. The area was then leak tested to ensure all areas were sealed properly. A water retention mat was placed on the therma plastic layer, Lawrence said. 

Finally, engineered soil was installed and then the seedum layer.

Lawrence said a green roof protects roof membrane resulting in longer material life span, and the soil acts as an insulator, resulting in energy savings. A green roof also slows water runoff, which allows drainage systems to better handle rainwater and storm water, he said.

"We want to see how this roof performs and as we move forward into the future, green roofs will be a consideration with roof replacements and new construction," he said.

Stocks and Mann Architects designed the project and Covington Roofing Company was the contractor.

The green roof is one of many energy and conservation projects at UCA. The university used money from a 2007 bond and the stimulus to pay for the projects.

Such roof gardens have been slow to catch on in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality had planned to place a rooftop garden on its North Little Rock building, which cost more than $22 million. The ADEQ had hired Mesa Landscape Architects Inc. of Little Rock to design the rooftop garden, which could have lowered the temperature of the roof by 40 to 60 degrees, saving on cooling costs and extending the life of the roof.

But the ADEQ decided to scrap its plans for the rooftop garden. ADEQ officials thought they didn't have the employees for the maintenance of the garden, which would have been planted directly on the building's roof.

Previously

Roof Gardens Slow to Grow in Arkansas