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Green Roof Project Develops

Grant fund a living roof for Admin building

Griffin Baltz

Contributing Writer

Through a $1 million grant from the France-Merrick Foundation, UMBC has begun developing a new, sustainable green roof for the Admin Building. The Foundation has two sustainability interns on campus to help with the project, which is currently in the design phase.

   In another environmentally friendly move following the construction of The Garden and Patapsco Hall’s green roof, a new “living” roof is being planned for construction atop the Administration Building.

The France-Merrick Foundation gave $1 million to UMBC to fund the transformation of the Administration Building’s roof into an environmentally friendly and sustainable area.

The green roof will be “an important symbol for demonstrating UMBC’s campus-wide dedication to sustainability practices” and will also help insulate and reduce heat loss from the building according to a recent myUMBC post on the topic.

Additionally, the France-Merrick Foundation is providing support for their two campus sustainability interns, Andrew Brow and Devaughn Jones. Brow and Jones will act as liaisons for sustainability and climate change education and awareness programs on campus.

“I heard about the internship through a post by Sustainability Matters at UMBC,” said Brow, a junior mechanical engineering major. “They were looking for environmentally minded students looking to increase their involvement and leadership on campus. I’m always looking for ways to improve my experience at UMBC and have a deep passion for renewable energy, so it seemed like the perfect fit.”

Similarly, Jones, a freshman mechanical engineering and financial economics double-major, said that he became involved in the project due to his “passion for protection of our greatest asset and treasure [the environment].”

Brow and Jones also stated that green roofs perform multiple tasks like reducing stress on sewer systems and increasing the lifespan of the building roof’s waterproof membrane.

“The rooftop garden will create new jobs on campus and could potentially lead to a new trend in establishing amenity spaces,” said Jones.

While Jones and Brow are optimistic about the project, not every individual on campus is satisfied with the development.

“While I find the green effort here to be commendable, I feel like the grant money could have been used differently,” said senior English literature major Mason Catharini. “The project feels more ceremonial than practical, in my opinion.”

This green roof project is not the only environmental sustainability project on campus, however. Brow and Jones hope to bring more projects into the school.

“There are a few ideas floating out there like installing solar panels on the satellite dish near the police station, as well as the idea of creating a permanent solar space on campus for student use,” said Brow.

“We need big thinkers to fix big problems,” said Jones. “… I’m excited to see growth in the presence of solar power and community green spaces. Promotion of electric vehicles and use of public transportation is also going to be a major factor in reducing UMBC’s environmental impact.”

The Administration Building Green Roof Project is currently in its design phase, with construction scheduled to begin in the spring of 2015. The project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015.