The Ecological Purpose:
The Ecological Purpose and Need for the installation of an environmental Green Roof on the NYC iSCHOOL building is to solve three environmental problems. One of the three problems is the need to reduce the buildings energy use to reduce our contribution to global warming caused by burning fossil fuels (reduce the buildings fossil foot print). Another problem is the need to remediate the ecological disruption caused by the covering of the local ecosystem with buildings. The third reason is the need to reduce storm water runoff of the impervious roof surface to reduce sewage overflow that is polluting the city’s rivers. Our green roof will be a great contribution to the sustainable life of our historic school building.
Every day we use more and more energy, and every single day, the CO2 that gets released from burning fuels to produce that energy goes up into the atmosphere. There it combines with oxygen and creates a blanket around the world, causing global warming and environmental disasters. The need for the green roof is to reduce the building’s energy use to reduce our contribution to global warming. The way a green roof reduced the building’s energy use is by insulating the roof. This keeps the building cooler in warm weather and warmer in cold weather. Using less air conditioning reduces the used of electricity and using less heat in the radiators reduces the building’s burning of heating fuel.
When cities are built they the local ecosystem with buildings. If we were to put some of the native plants of New York City up on our green roof we would bring back some of the species and possibly reduce extinction rates would decrease. The plants also produce oxygen through photosynthesis and clean pollutants out the air.
Do you see how when it rains all of the water goes into the same sewer system as waste sewage form kitchens and toilets? This is called a combined storm water sewage system. Do you ever stop and think where all that water goes to? When there are strong rains the sewage treatment plant cannot handle the amount of mixed water and raw sewage contaminates our city’s rivers. . If we were to have a green roof the soil and plants would soak up the rain and reduce storm water runoff. If many building planted green roofs we could prevent our sewage system from overflowing and our rivers wouldn’t be contaminated.
The green roof will benefit not only our school but our city and the world. We can start a generation that will help restore the Earth’s ecosystems and make our environment a better place to live for the generations ahead of us. We hope that other students may follow in our footsteps and build a green roof on their schools, because if we can do it than anyone can. We can reduce our energy bill, and reduce storm water runoff, and bring back New York City’s native wildlife back. The green roof has a purpose with a benefit that can help us change the world in our own little way.
The horticulture aspect of the green roof is one of most important contributing factors to the green roof. Our team worked together over a course of about five weeks to plan out a green roof that will be most effective to positively impact the environment and serve as a new aspect to the iSchool community.
Planting perennial flowers, trees, and shrubs are difficult in a regular garden, but putting these plants on a roof is even more difficult. Our team will have to find horticulture fit to withstand the conditions on the roof. Our goal is to find the best plants to make up our iSchool Green Roof.
We would like to have an area where the iSchool community can plant vegetables and fruits to gain the experience of being able to plant a garden in an urban environment, that many of the students in our school who grow up in urban environments don’t get the chance to do. Planting vegetables like tomatoes, baby carrots, and herbs to potentially use them in the school cafeteria shared between NYC iSchool and Chelsea Technical High School. We want to propose an idea to have cooking courses that will involve the agriculture from the roof.
We are aiming to plant vegetables that have short roots and are good for containers.
Vegetables such as Red Cabbage and Sprouting Broccoli, that are tough enough to handle heat fluctuations and strong enough to handle the wind that’ll be contained on the roof.
The sedum Autumn Joy is a great choice for the green roof and it is a award winning perennial. It survives great in heat and humidity meaning it can survive those hot, tough NYC summers. This sedum is a drought proof perennial that makes a handsome statement to shade a perennial garden. The beautiful colors on it add a stunning pink look which will add color to our roof. It also attracts butterflies of all sorts which will add a great amount of` biodiversity to the roof, bringing additional insects and other organisms. They are easy to grow with low moisture requirements, which will be good during the summer, due to those dry days. This plant does not require so much attention.
The Purple Emperor is a drought tolerant ground cover. Also, has a breathe taking beautiful foliage that will liven up the green roof. If placed in a perennial garden it is easier to take care of. It grows up to 18 inches which will be the perfect height for the roof. By late summer, the sedum has a pink foliage and blooms right around when school will starts back, which will make it easier to care for. The sedum attracts all sorts of butterflies which will add more biodiversity to the roof. This sedum can be planted in dry or even sandy soil. This means it has excellent drainage, which reduces storm water runoff. They take on heat and humidity and low moisture requirements which will mean they will survive in harsh dry environments.
Horticulture is one of the most important parts of a green roof. Sedums and grasses are usually what are put on these roofs, but we have come across some flower choices as well as shrub types. One type of flower is Hyperion, also known as a Daylily; these flowers are cold and drought tolerant, long lived plants that are said to be very “tough”. They grow an average height of 30-40 inches and their season of interest is the summer and fall. Daylily’s also attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and is rabbit resistant.
Another plant that we want to put on the roof is the Little Bluestem. It is not really considered a flower because it is a type of grass but it would be a nice addition to our meadow. It grows fairly tall and can survive in the winter time.
Since the great wall on our roof does not provide so much shade, it would be a good idea to find plants that love the sun in addition to surviving the cold winters. So a great flower choice would be the Chillea Millefolium also known as ‘Strawberry Seduction’. This magenta colored flower is very tolerant to heat, and it attracts many butterflies. They grow 25-30” tall and they are very attractive to the eye. There are many different types of shrubs that exist but not many can survive on a roof.
One of the shrub choices is the Choisya ternata also known as the Mexican Orange Blossom. The Choisya ternata is a evergreen spring flowering shrub and after 5 years the shrub would be 8ft by 8ft. It’s a good plant to put on our green roof because it is green all year round and in the spring time the flowers come out and restore a natural habitat for some insects that it attracts. Also, it does well in the sun but it tolerates shade very well. Our roof is mostly exposed to a lot of sunlight so; it’s a good place to put this type of shrub. The Hydrangea- Blue Bunny is also a good shrub to put on the roof and they attract hummingbirds.
Another plant that would fit well to growing on our green roof is the Mock-Orange. The Mock- Orange can grow in the USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 8, and our hardiness zone is 6-7. Furthermore, the Mock-Orange can grow in full to partial shade and in moist, well drained soil that is high in organic material. The Mock-Orange shrub attracts butterflies and caterpillars. This shrub would restore a natural habitat for butterflies.
There are around 60 different species of dogwood trees. unlike the red maple, dogwood trees can’t survive in very hot and dry areas. Dogwood trees do not grow tall but they grow wide; its perfect if you need a tree to take up room. one of the best parts of dogwood trees is the scent; they release an amazing aroma. Another great tree choice would be the Red maples, because they are a great choice for a green roof. They turn a beautiful shade of red during the autumn. Red maples can also grow to about 60-90 feet by the time they mature. They are able to grow in almost any soil, making it a great choice for the roof which requires a cerain type of soil. Another reason this tree is a great candidate is because it can grow in many different climates such as dry areas and wet areas.