Harvard Business School (HBS) is known for creating some of the greatest business minds in America. Now they are educating these minds in green structures. Recently, HBS completed the construction of a green roof on Shad Hall. The 5,200 square foot roof incorporates several green technologies including live plants, “dirt”, solar panels, and reflective surfaces.
The “living” area of the roof includes 64 cubic yards of shale, a gravel like material that won’t compact or blow away. The shale retains enough water for the plants to live but drains well enough that the plants will not die from saturation. Planted in the “dirt” is 9,000 perennial plants that will spread over the roof throughout the next two years. Green roofs are actually made of two separate layers. The lower level is an impermeable membrane covered with insulation, a water retention and drainage system. Included in this layer is a leak sensory system that can pinpoint a leak within a one-foot radius. Next is the layer of shale and plants, which will bloom into a beautiful rooftop garden. Additional technologies utilized in the construction include sheets of white PVC and Solar Panels.
How do these technologies help Harvard to save money while simultaneously making it green?
- The plant cover absorbs much of the heat directed at the building, which keeps it cooler in the summer (a high of 90 degrees vs. 160 degrees.) Additionally, the multiple layers on the roof insulate the building keeping it warmer in the winter months. The plant cover absorbs 75% of the annual rainfall, decreasing the drain off.
- The white PVC covering deflects the sun’s rays, keeping the roof cooler in the summer.
- The Solar Panels generate electricity for the building year round.
We are lucky to have this very interesting technology right in our backyard in Massachusetts. Did you know can integrate part of this technology into your own home? While Moonworks can’t plant flowers on your roof, we can offer you a wide range of shingles (Solaris Shingles and Cool Colors Shingles) that have reflective properties, decreasing your roof temperature in the summer and saving you on cooling cost. Some of these shingles even qualify you for up to a $1500 tax credit!
Photo Credits: HBS