Green Roof on Taylor Residence Hall

The College continued its greening efforts by installing a “green roof,” a system of live plants, soil, and drainage, on Taylor residence hall in October 2008. The 1,000–square–foot system is composed of sedum—succulent plants that retain water—in modular trays. This is the second green roof on campus: the first covers a section of the LEED–certified Heimbold Visual Arts Center, which opened in 2004.

The benefits of a green roof include reducing energy used for heating the building, extending the lifespan of the rooftop, controlling storm water runoff, reducing urban heat–island effect, and improving air quality.

The Taylor roof was installed by SmartRoofs LLC, which trains and employs “green–collar” workers. SmartRoofs is a for–profit subsidiary of the environmental justice organization Sustainable South Bronx.  Its mission is to “create environmental justice through innovative, economically sustainable projects that are informed by community needs.”

Installing the Green Roof on TaylorThe workers who installed the Taylor roof are graduates of the organization’s Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program, which trains local residents for jobs in the green economy.

“This project exemplifies the true meaning of using the green economy to alleviate poverty, provide opportunity, and combat climate change,” says Miquela Craytor, CEO of SmartRoofs and executive director of Sustainable South Bronx.

Installation of the roof was intended to take place as part of a national day of action on September 27 promoted by Green For All, a national organization devoted to “increasing legislative support for green jobs as a way to lift people out of poverty and restore our planet.” The installation was postponed to Oct. 4 because of rain, but the College continued with its program of speakers, activities, and tours of Warren Green, the newly retrofitted, environmentally friendly residence hall.

The green roof project was initiated by the student club Sustainable SLC and funded by the student senate. At the installation, Justin Butler, co–founder of Sustainable SLC, rallied student support for the project, “This is an important partnership between a private college and a green jobs training and placement organization, and we stand together in calling for governmental action for green jobs,” he said. “Our hope is to demonstrate that this can be done on campuses everywhere.”

—Lisa W. Romano