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A Multidisciplinary Design and Analysis for a Green Roof Installation

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Energy Conservation and Conversions for Green Buildings

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.74.1 - 24.74.9

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Paper Authors

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Brandon S. Field University of Southern Indiana


Kerry S. Hall University of Southern Indiana

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Kerry Hall teaches civil engineering materials and structural engineering at the University of Southern Indiana, Evansville.

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A Multidisciplinary Design and Analysis for a Green Roof InstallationA multidisciplinary project is described in this paper that has produced arecommendation for the installation of a green roof on a campus building. A green roofis when plants are grown on top of a roof, which reduces the solar load on the airconditioning system and improving the sustainability of the design. The programwithin which this was done offers the Bachelors of Science in Engineering (BSE) degree,with five emphasis areas available to the students: mechanical, civil, electrical,industrial, and mechatronics. The emphasis area selected by a student determinescertain electives but each student is free to take as many as four engineering electives indifferent disciplines, allowing multidisciplinary topics and even some elective coursesat many levels throughout the curriculum.The building that this project addressed is one that until recently housed theEngineering Department with a flat roof design: poured concrete supported by steelbeams, covered and sealed with black synthetic rubber membrane. There is roof accessby both a stairwell and an elevator, so it would be an ideal building to install a greenroof, since educational signage and tours would be easily accommodated. The designwork for the green roof planters was done by two mechanical engineering emphasisstudents who were enrolled in a special topics course. The mechanical aspects of thedesign included the analysis of thermal loads, specifications of the size, type and priceof the planters and irrigation system and an economic analysis of the savings. Thisdesign relied on structural calculations done by other students.To provide these structural calculations, students in one of the civil engineeringemphasis electives, Structural Analysis, were given a series of assignments to determinethe design loads acting on the building and the distribution of forces caused by thoseloads. Students in another civil engineering elective, Reinforced Concrete Design, weregiven assignments throughout the semester to determine the strength of the members ofthe roof and supporting structure. Finally, one civil engineering student who wasenrolled in another special topics course was tasked with taking the calculations fromthe two classes and working them together to determine the reserve capacity thatwould be used to support the green roof system.The final design report was presented to the campus-wide Environmental StewardshipCommittee and to the Physical Plant for consideration of the investment. This project isa demonstration of a service-learning effort that includes technical engineering analysisdone in service to the university and environmental sustainability.

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