The GREEN facility has the capacity to develop, improve and test: drainage systems, membrane effectiveness, water proofing, water quality and retention, reduction of potable water use, snowmelt runoff, reductions in the energy requirements for heating/cooling of interior spaces, and promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by reducing building’s energy requirements. Engineering tests utilizing load cells and infrared thermal imaging are performed to evaluate the performance of water drainage and water proofing systems, respectively.

The GREEN Facility is bridging the critical gap between small scale (e.g. soil cores), typically unrepresentative lab experiments, and complex, time consuming and costly large scale constructed roofs. The primary focus of the facility is to design roof systems for cold regions. Specific questions addressed by the facility are:

  • What are the effective hydraulic properties of the green roof materials for cold regions with freeze-thaw cycles and snowmelt and rain-on-snow conditions?
  • How do these properties evolve in time and in particular can we expect to reach some equilibrium condition following some number of freeze-thaw cycles?
  • How does the roof material partition rainfall and snowmelt between frozen and unfrozen states (with the GREEN Facility enabling quantification of surface runoff, infiltration, evapotranspiration, sub-surface interflow and runoff)?
  • How can we expect plants to interact with frozen ground conditions on the roof and how does roof freezing affect where plants get their water?
  • How can we use these well controlled conditions to improve our numerical models used for green roof design?