Our group intends to investigate the feasibility and desirability of installing rooftop gardens as well as increasing greenspaces within buildings. We will examine these possibilities within one building on campus as a representative example.
We feel that there are several ways that rooftop and indoor gardens could possibly benefit the campus:
*Aesthetics -people like green spaces
-fosters a more relaxed campus environment
*Energy -rooftop gardens could provide insulation in the winter, and
cooling of the rooftop area in the summer
*Water -water on rooftops would be absorbed by plants, thus utilizing
water that normally lies stagnant on the roof or runs off
-runoff could possibly be channeled to indoor plants
-indoor plants can improve the indoor climate through trans-
piration and photosynthesis (ie. temperature, humidity levels...)
*Habitat -plants and gardens provide a habitat for small species, for example
insects and birds -- this would assist biodiversity which is viewed
*Education -rooftop gardens can be used as an educational tool for students
within the university and the community
*Other -good, innovative use of wasted space
-provides a location to compost and a place to utilize compost
Our rational for this study is closely tied to promoting sustainability on campus. Rooftop and indoor gardens would contribute to sustainability in several ways: by creating more green spaces; by assisting the cycling of water and atmospheric gases; by improving energy efficiency; by fostering a more relaxed environment on campus and by creating an arena for student and community involvement. University students as well as other members of the public could be involved with maintaining the gardens while learning about them.
These points have also been outlined within our definition and discussion of " Sustainability on Campus". The various benefits and technicalities of the gardens, along with their relation to sustainability, will be further developed within the body of our project.
To determine the feasibility of this project it will be necessary to examine the building as a system. This is an initial attempt at evaluating this system and it's components.
*Components - brick, concrete, nuts & bolts (ie. construction materials)
-foundation and frame
-maintenance and labour for building upkeep
-the various subsystems (see system hierarchy section)
*Hierarchy -The building is made up of a number of subsystems. The physical/structural system, the electrical/energy system, the water/plumbing system, the indoor and rooftop microclimates and even the human/administrative system all interact to create the building system. In turn, the building system is part of a larger system, which encompasses all buildings on campus. The campus as a whole is part of a greater education system, which could further be considered to be part of the entire K-W community system.
*Boundaries -The obvious physical boundaries of the building system could be defined by the "four" walls, floor and roof of the building. Realistically the boundaries are more difficult to define because the building interacts with the rest of campus , the atmosphere and the elements.
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION:
The following are potential criteria that we may use to evaluate the system, and for determining the buildings suitability to rooftop and indoor gardens:
*strength of building structure
*orientation and aspect of building (ie. roof slope, angles...)
*human desire for these gardens
*ability of existing water system to support gardens
*indoor and rooftop climate suitability (ie. temperature, light, moisture...)
To measure these criteria a combination of the following strategies may be used:
*examining blue prints/architectural plans
*determine the direction each face of the building points
*surveys to determine people's opinions/feelings/suggestions...
*determining existing plumbing and pipe layout (ie. where the pipes go?)
*measure temperature, humidity, light, wind...(to determine microclimate)
The following people may prove to be useful resources for obtaining information over the course of our study:
*Plant Ops. personnel
*Dr. Semple (Biology)
*Energy Probe (Toronto)
*People that have attempted similar projects in the past (??????????)
We would appreciate constructive criticism and suggestions (especially for people who have attempted rooftop gardens in the past).