Group 4: Green roof, Stormwater and Solarium
In effort to make the Rubenstein school greener and more efficient, our group tackled three separate projects. From the management of the Aiken Solarium, to maintenance and data collection of instruments on the green roof, to storm water management, we kept busy this semester keeping Rubenstein as sustainable as possible. In the solarium, upgrades and maintenance have been performed in order to beautify the space for the class of 2023 visiting for Admitted Students Days and anyone else who uses the space. Many hours were spent sprucing up existing plants, and numerous plants were provided by Claussen’s Greenhouse in Colchester to add some vibrance to an already beautiful array of tropical plants. We also laid an array of small stones around the beds.
The stormwater portion of our group’s project is designing a tank to collect rainwater from the green roof and utilize it to water plants in the building. This tank would be mounted inside the solarium and attached to the existing stormwater pipe. A photo of the storage tank can be found here.
We also investigated the campus stormwater pipe layout plans around the Davis Center circle to identify an existing pipe that we can divert stormwater from into the underground grey water storage tanks in front of Aiken. If we can get water to these tanks, then we can use that water to flush toilets in the building. The system is already in place to filter the water and pump it to the proper locations but needs a water source. A photo of the proposed water diversion can be found here.
The objective of the green roof portion of this project was to calibrate all of the sensors on the roof for proper tracking of wind speed, weather, and soil health to ensure that everything works properly after winter passes. Our first step in this process was calibrating the tipping buckets in the Aiken Center which track the amount of water that is being collected from the green roof. We slowly added water to each bucket and recorded the volume needed to tip it over, noting this volume for each tip direction of each bucket. Multiplying this measured volume by the number of tips from each bucket is how the runoff from each section of the green roof is calculated, and the treatments are compared.
To conserve water in Aiken, our group also addressed the issue of the bathroom sinks. They were all running way longer than necessary and were wasting too much water. We found that every faucet was running for different lengths of time, and had different flow rates from varying water pressure and mineral buildup. This means that accurately estimating the sink water usage was a nightmare, so we measured the flow rate of each faucet, and using the bathroom use data from last years scope 4 group, we were able to estimate how much water was being used by sinks, which was roughly 23,860 gallons per year. We adjusted the time to 4 seconds per push, and found that you realistically need to press it twice per visit. Once to lather your hands, and another to rinse off the soap. So assuming two pushes per visit, we are saving roughly 3,000 gallons of water per year, or $17.50 in savings on the water bill.
here is the Green Roof live-feed camera: Live-Feed
Here are some notes from leonard perry on indoor ferns. I added photos to help identify them at claussen’s. staghorn and rabbit’s foot are expensive and need to either be suspended in the air in a basket or attached to vertical wall. What about a combination of various Bromeliads in the southern, narrow beds? (you would focus on foliage). There are many different leaf textures and colors, various heights and flowers structures. They prefer indirect light which we talked about earlier. Nancy Matthews likes them. They would remain in their pots, sunken into the soil. You would need to plant a different type of plant to buffer the zone between the mahoganies and bromeliads. Maybe peace lilies or aglonema Just a thought. I’ll send some photos. If you don’t find many at claussens than Gardener’s Supply. They maybe expensive. You couls try lowe’s too. Another idea is various geraniums. I’m not sure about their availability.
- Sinkwater outputs and calculations:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ABGiLG0YSkyEqbVvRRNPPfG9_ifW2lsanM4IXWdsVOg/edit?usp=sharing
- Tipping buckets data 3/1/19: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19aAyWIH2h51B9Gm6UYmnj19ENW4nJDPiX1x0XAPvSgQ/edit?usp=sharing