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FOTD living green roof

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Revision as of 23:33, 3 May 2012 by JamesCreek (talk | Contributions) (Moe Editting)
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ENGR215 Project Page in Progress
This page is a project page in progress by students in Engr215. Please refrain from making edits unless you are a member of the project team, but feel free to make comments using the discussion tab. Check back for the finished version on {{{1}}}.

The model green roof, located along the Living Green Interpretive Trail at Friends of the Dunes.


Friends of the Dunes is a non-profit organization, and work to protect and preserve the natural habitats of the dunes. Their Coastal Nature Center is a place where they promote green solutions by educating visitors. Construction started on the nature center in 2007, and there are still a few outstanding projects that need to be completed. One of the projects is a green roof on the west awning. As part of the Engineering 215 course, we were given the opportunity to design the green roof, and build an educational model of it.

Problem statement

The objective of the project is to design a green roof for the western awning at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center, and to build a model of the green roof that educates visitors and enhances the aesthetics of the Center.

Problem Analysis and Criteria

Criteria Weight Description
Aesthetics 10 The roof must look as professional as the rest of the Nature Center.
Local Suppliers 9 As many local businesses as possible.
Cost 3 The design is limited to $400 in material costs. Higher costs must be approved by Carol Vander Meer.
Weight 5 The roof must weigh must not exceed its maximum weight capacity. The lighter the final design, the better.
Safety 5 The roof must be safe during an earthquake and be designed to be safely accessible for maintainable and weeding.

The Solution

There were two parts to our project: the design of the green roof for the western awning and the model of a green roof.

Western Awning Green Roof

Using the criteria and their respective weights, we picked a design that is slightly more expensive, looks professional, and allows plants to survive in the summer. Once built, it will have a low weight, and can be built without threatening the structural integrity of the building. Plastic Bend-A-Board is used for the retaining wall, with the components of the green roof layered behind. Hydrostop waterproofing paint is applied once more to roof to ensure the roof will not leak. The base layer of the roof is a protection fabric to stop roots from growing into the roof, and is followed by a synthetic drainage layer. The synthetic layer is a light material, and with its many pockets to hold water, will keep the roof green during the dry months, while removing excess water during the rainy months. On top of the drainage layer will be a separation filter fabric. Four inches of native soil will be used as the growing medium will be placed on top of the filter sheet. An erosion control blanket placed on top of the planting medium will stop the soil from getting blown off or washed away during winter storms. It is made of a biodegradable material, and is only expected to last until the plants are big enough to hold onto the soil themselves. A micro sprinkler system will be installed on top, to provide water during the summer. These layers of the roof will create a habitat on top in which native plants can thrive, and an effective drainage system on the bottom.

Model of the Green Roof

The scale model of the green roof consists of a half-circle table that is six feet in diameter, four feet in radius, and supported by three wooden posts that are secured to concrete blocks buried in the ground. It is installed on the Living Green Interpretive Trail in front of the nature center. Beside the model is an informational sign that explains what green roofs are and the benefits they have.


Western Awning Green Roof

Here are the estimated costs for the Western Awning green roof design implemented:

Material Qty Source Extended Amount($)
Hydrostop 1 bucket On site Free
Protection Fabric 500 ft sq Conservation Technology $357
Drainage Plates 500 ft sq Conservation Technology $905
Separation Fabric 500 ft sq Conservation Technology $267
Plastic Edge 100 ft Ace Hardware $70
Erosion Control Blanket (CS3) 500 ft sq Western Excelsior $180
Sprinkler System 500 ft sq Home Depot $113
TOTAL $1700

Model of the Green Roof

The costs of the materials used for building the model green roof:

Material Qty Amount ($) Extended Amount($)
Plywood Board 24 sq ft $26.88 $26.88
Pine Pole 2 $9.99 $19.98
Concrete Anchor 4 $2.99 $11.96
Post Anchor 4 $4.89 $19.56
Framing Anchor 2 $0.39 $0.78
Waterproofing Paint 1 $11.59 $11.59
Paint Brush 1 $3.49 $3.49
Bend-A-Board 1 roll $19.99 $19.99
Drainage Rocks 1.5 cb ft $19.99 $19.99
Soil Mix 1 cb ft $7.99 $7.99
Rubber Mat 24 sq ft $35.94 $35.94
Filter Fabric 24 sq ft $6.00 $6.00
L Brackets 32 $0.49 $15.68
Bolts 4 $1.49 $5.96
Washers 8 $0.23 $1.84
Nuts 4 $0.23 $0.92
Screws 1 box $3.69 $3.69
MGV PHL Deck 1 $6.00 $6.00
Rubber Adhesive 1 $10.99 $10.99
Strap hanger 1 $2.59 $2.59
Plexiglass 4 by 8 in $1.20 $1.20
Tax 7.25% $16.17
Total $239.19

Labor Hours

Add in chart


The model of the green roof is installed on the side of the Living Green Interpretive Trail, and the following steps were done to construct the model:

Building the Model Green Roof
Step 1 Step 1 : Construct the representation of the roof using plywood and attach L brackets to Bend-A-Board.
Step 2 Step 2 : Install waterproofing material, Bend-A-Board edge and the truth window into the roof model.
Step 3 Step 3 : Secure the model in place using three waterproofed poles and apply one inch of drainage material on top of the waterproofing layer.
Step 4 Step 4 : Cut and apply separation filter fabric.
Step 5 Step 5 : Apply soil medium, pack it down, and plant.


  • When the plants on the roof look wilted or there has not been any substantial rainfall, the roof will need to be watered. This can be done either by using a hose or by using a watering can. Water no more than twice a week, and for only until water starts draining out
  • The maintenance of the green roof will require occasional pulling of weeds, cleaning of the truth window, and inspecting of the paint job.
  • If one type of plant takes over the roof, carefully remove the unwanted plants and replace with other dune natives.

next steps

The designed of the green roof can be used to build the green roof on the western awning.