Turning Storm Water Challenges into Opportunities: A Workshop for Homeowners

To celebrate the anniversary of the installation of Saint Joseph’s University’s first green roof, the University partnered with Lower Merion Conservancy in inviting homeowners from the surrounding areas to a free workshop funded by a grant from the Department of Energy on November 18-19 — “Turning Storm Water Challenges into Opportunities: A Workshop for Homeowners.” The workshop was considered a success and well attended.

On Friday night, a keynote address was delivered by Carol Franklin,Principal of Andropogon Associates – ‘Metropolitan Paradise- The Wissahickon Valley.’  On Saturday, throughout the day, participants had the opportunity to attend panel discussions on storm water solutions, toured SJU’s green roof system and learned about rain gardens, rain barrels and meadows as management systems for storm water issues.  The workshop concluded with a tour of Villanova’s storm
water management system. Presenters included members from Saint Joseph’s University, Lower Merion Conservancy, PA Environmental Council, Philadelphia Water Department, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Natural Lands Trust, Cramer Design Associates, Andropogon Associates, Montgomery County Conservation District & Villanova University.

Dr. Mike McCann explained how, “Green roof systems provide a wide range of benefits including reduced energy use and increased energy efficiency.  Basic green roofs usually involve a structure built on an existing roof that includes a waterproofing membrane and additional layers of root barrier and drainage systems.  Growing medium and specialized plant vegetation is then added to that structure.”

SJU’s green roof system on the Science Center permits the direct, side by side comparison of four green roofs.  This novel, ‘many roofs on one building’ approach will provide valuable data on the various systems in use in Southeastern Pennsylvania”. “What really makes the roof unique is that built into it are sensors and other instruments that measure and track factors such as heat retention, heat flux inside and outside the building, water retention and more. Over time, Dr. McCann said, researchers, including SJU students, will be able to study whether there are “real performance differences.” Green roofs are said to lessen the urban heat effect, help in storm water management and decrease building energy.

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