The green roof research project at the University of Colorado Denver is intended to investigate the plant species and conditional elements that allow for the establishment of green roofs in the mountain west and southwest regions. Denver’s arid climate is typical of the high plains desert, with little precipitation and abundant sunshine; a harsh environment for the establishment of a successful green roof system. The study is the first in the region and may provide a template for the conditions necessary for successful installations in the both the Denver area and the greater western region.
The ongoing research will be an evaluation of the species and conditions that are most successful within the rooftop environment. The response is the rate of plant biomass growth within variable conditions yet also to observe the conditions themselves that have the greatest success rate for all tested subjects. The 2nd and 3rd floor testing plots are intended to provide a number of variables; testing the capabilities of different species of plants as well as soil type and depth, irrigation frequency and solar exposure.
Specific Research Objectives:
1. Performance evaluation of establishment, rate of growth and environmental fluctuation tolerance of specific plant species
2. Examine the variability of plant performance and evapotranspiration in relation to soil depth
3. Determine the effect of different soil types on the establishment and growth of vegetation
4. Assess the variability in moisture retention and consequent run-off among plant types and conditions
5. Understand the variability of similar conditions under differing solar exposure
6. Create a template for successful green roof conditions for the area and region
Testing Plots – 2nd and 3rd Floors of the facility
Ongoing research will be conducted on the 2nd and 3rd floor roofs at the University of Colorado Denver campus at 1250 14th Street, Denver. A series of 54 8’ x 8’ planting plots placed directly on the current roofing material will be engineered to provide an array of variables within similar solar conditions.
Within each plot, a further subdivision into quadrants will create 4 2’x2’ squares. Each square will contain a combination of soil type and depth, plant species and irrigation. Four 4” plants of the same species will be allowed for each 2’ square.
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