Green horizons at Ohio State

As  Ohio State  moves toward more sustainable practices, green roofs can be one way to achieve this. A green roof is also known as a rooftop garden, and is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop. Green roofs can provide numerous benefits both environmentally and economically that can help the city of Columbus decrease its overall impact on the surrounding environment. Benefits include a reduction the Urban Heat Island Effect, improved air quality, decreased stormwater runoff, and decreased energy use. The addition of a green roof will also significantly increase roof lifespan and decrease utility bills.

Although a green roof is in the planning stages for Howlett Hall, Ohio State remains the only Big Ten University that does not have a single green roof or a green roof research facility. In addition, governments in other countries have also been implementing green roofs in urban areas. For example, Germany has been a leader in green roof construction since the 1980s. With the growing popularity of adopting green roofs and green roof policies, and with green roofs fitting in perfectly with the university’s ideas regarding sustainability, why hasn’t Ohio State progressed further?

We propose that The Ohio State University One Framework Plan include a policy that would mandate that all suitable existing roofs that are undergoing roof replacement should be replaced with green roofs, and that all suitable new construction should involve the implementation of green roofs. We conducted a case study of Hitchcock Hall and discovered that the implementation of a green roof would result in a savings of roughly $100,000 over the lifespan of the roof. The benefits gained from the implementation of a green roof policy would allow Ohio State to become a leader in sustainability to ensure the future well-being of the university.

Photo of Grange Insurance Audubon Center's green roof in Columbus courtesy of Megan Welsh


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