Focusing on Green Roof Research at SIUE

Sourced from The Edwardsville Intelligencer

Over the last several years, three members of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s diverse faculty have been working together to conduct cutting-edge research on developing and maintaining green infrastructure.

On this week’s episode of Segue, CAS Dean Greg Budzban, Ph.D., interviews Bill Retzlaff, Ph.D., Susan Morgan, Ph.D., and Serdar Celik, Ph.D. The trio has been working together conducting research on green roof systems.

This episode of Segue will air at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 19, on WSIE 88.7 FM The Sound and siue.edu/wsie.

A distinguished research professor of biological sciences and CAS associate dean, Retzlaff had previously conducted regional and national-scale air quality monitoring and evaluated how air quality might affect forest ecosystems. His work naturally led to research on water quality, and he began collaborating with Morgan, a professor of civil engineering and associate dean of the SIUE Graduate School. Though her previous research was in waste management, her work shifted to the topic of storm water management.

Combining Retzlaff’s expertise of plants and Morgan’s knowledge of environmental engineering and storm water, the two extensively researched green roofs, which are living systems that are placed on building rooftops to provide many environmental benefits. The duo ultimately created the Green Roof Environmental Evaluation Network (G.R.E.E.N.) in 2004.

Celik, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and 2018 Paul Simon Outstanding Teacher-Scholar Award recipient, joined SIUE in 2007. One year later, he joined Retzlaff and Morgan at G.R.E.E.N. to use his knowledge of thermal and fluid sciences, and energy to focus on the energy-saving aspects of green roofs.

“Serdar is being modest,” Retzlaff says. “He has the wind tunnel in his lab, and one of the first projects we worked on together was to look at the effect of high-speed wind uplift on green roofs.

“That work went into the national building code, and had we not conducted that research within his lab with the wind tunnel, we could not have made that impact.”

“In what ways does wind impact living architecture?” Budzban asks.

“States like Florida experience high winds in hurricanes, and there are building standards that have to meet or exceed regulations to withstand wind gusts,” Retzlaff says. “By putting a living, green roof inside of a wind tunnel, we were able to use 200 miles-per-hour windspeeds to see how high winds would affect a green roof system.”

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