Taylor Hall roof goes green, sustainable


Chelsae Ketchum

Sedum flowers are unloaded onto the roof of Taylor Hall to fill the beds designed by Braun & Steidl Architects. The workers installed the first green roof at Kent State, Oct. 22, 2013. 

Julie Myers

Workers from Panzica Construction installed about 6,000 square feet of plants for a green roof for sustainability and insulation on Taylor Hall at Kent State on Tuesday.

Robert Misbrener, project manager for Sustainability, Energy Conservation and Commission, described the rooftop garden’s benefits.

“The wintertime energy savings may benefit some as well due to the extra depth of material on the roof and potential to hold snow on the surface longer, which is an insulator,” he said.

Misbrener said the green roof will reduce the sun’s effect on the surface of the roof and will also reduce the effect of rainwater on the storm drainage system.

Beth Ruffing, the project manager, adding to the benefits of the green roof, said it has a leak-detection system so they can pinpoint exactly where the water is.

The green roof is part of the overall $2.3 million project to renovate Taylor Hall, Ruffing said. She said the green plantings were $116,000, and pavers to walk on were $150,000. This project was paid for by bonds from the university.

Ruffing said they chose a tray system, which means the plants are installed in sections, and pavers can be added for walkways.

“One of the reasons we went specifically with the tray system had to do with the layout of the plaza area in that we wanted to have walking pavers so that people could still walk around the plaza and have some overlooks to look out over the May 4 site,” Ruffing said.

The specific plants that were chosen are referred to as sedum. Ruffing said they are categorized within the cactus family. They chose 12 different varieties for diversity and color variation.

Other than occasional weeding and the drip irrigation system, Ruffing said, the green roof should be relatively low-maintenance. The sedum will only grow about 6 inches tall and will not require mowing or fertilizing.

Ruffing said students from the Urban Design Studio had a seminar at the green roof’s site Monday. If interest is there, they could hold more seminars for students.

Ruffing said they will be installing another green roof at Kent State Stark, and the new architecture building on the main campus will have one, too.

Contact Juli Myers at [email protected].