Students and staff at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA, recently took part in one of the school's sustainability initiatives — planting vegetation that will eventually be on the schools' newest roof. WPI's new residence hall, scheduled to open in fall 2008, will be a state-of-the-art and eco-friendly residence hall designed by CannonDesign, with construction management services by Gilbane Building Company.
As part of the project's goal to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver-level certification, the residence hall will feature a "green roof" — a garden roof system that contains specialized vegetation that helps avoid potential heat sink on the roof, as well as mitigates rain run-off from the building. Students and staff volunteered to be part of the team to plant the containers that will be placed on the facility's roof. They were joined by members of the construction project team. Weston Solutions, the nursery supplying the roof plantings for the project, invited students to their Kensington, CT, nursery for the planting day. Following a discussion of the purpose of green roofs and why the particular plant species were chosen, volunteers donned gloves and sunscreen and began planting individual sedum plugs into roof modules filled with growth media. The group planted almost 1,300 planters with over 10,000 plants.