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September 13, 2013
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

University installs third 'green roof'

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University is taking the going green movement to a higher level, literally. An 8,500-square-foot green roof is being installed on the Jack C. Dinger Building adjacent to Morrow Field House. Portions of the Smith Student Center and a bus stop across from Strain Behavioral Science have green roofs.

At Dinger, workers planted trays of sedum, an ornamental plant with small, star-shaped yellow, pink or white flowers. Herb Carlson, assistant vice president for construction design and management, brought the green roof idea into play at Dinger.

Building roofs aren't just tar and felt anymore. The new roof of the 21st century absorbs water, reduces energy consumption and lessons the carbon footprint, all while still looking great, he said

"The advantages are insulation, reducing energy consumption, retention of storm water and aesthetics in that the roof is visible from the pedestrian corridor," Carlson said.

The sedum trays are six inches deep. Carlson said the contractor is responsible for maintenance during the first year. If the plants thrive, SRU will assume maintenance. If it doesn't, the contractor must replace the plant, Carlson said.

He said the design of the green roof is calculated to retain water, minimize runoff to the ground and decrease stress on storm water systems. Green roofs also moderate the temperature of the water and act as natural filters for any water that does run off.

The greater insulation offered by green roofs can reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool a building, saving money and reducing emissions.

Carlson said sedum, like all plants, absorbs carbon dioxide and emits oxygen, helping to neutralize the University's emission of greenhouse gases. The smart growth can also capture airborne pollutants.

SRU has committed itself to becoming a carbon neutral institution by 2037.

Trend 5 of "Reaching for 2025 and Beyond," the University's long-range strategic plan, cites sustainability as an institutional priority. SRU is committed to producing graduates with the skills to excel in a world of diminishing resources.

SRU's has demonstrated greening leadership in building design, energy management, sustainable food practices, recycling, transportation and purchasing. The Princeton Review has included SRU in its "Guide to 286 Green Colleges" that have shown an above average commitment to sustainability.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.