SUU Incorporates Green Infrastructure on Campus

Sourced from SU Independent

Green infrastructure is a cost-effective and resilient way to manage weather impact and provides many environmental, social, and economic benefits. Southern Utah University is utilizing green infrastructure as a resource for the Cedar City community and a place for SUU students to conduct research. Found on the roof of the L.S. & Aline W. Skaggs Center for Health & Molecular Sciences, the green roof is covered with a thin layer of material in which native plants grow. This green roof helps to insulate the building from the extreme cold and hot temperatures of Cedar City as well as soaks up rain to prevent flooding.

Dr. Jacqualine Grant is an associate professor of biology at SUU and the director of the Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History. As a conservation biologist, her work focuses on green infrastructure and biology related to insects, mammals, and amphibians.

“A green roof is covered with plants and a special soil-like matrix in which tough plants can grow,” said Grant. “The green roof at SUU was created in 2010 as part of the national Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification process that gives us national recognition for sustainability on campus. The green roof helps to insulate our building and protect it from the damaging rays of the sun. Other benefits include the ability of green roofs to soak up stormwater runoff that might lead to flooding and to provide habitat for urban pollinators.”

The first years of SUU’s research, supported by the National Science Foundation, showed that very few pollinators were attracted to the non-native plants on the roof. So in 2016, native plants were added.

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