Green roof – by Lacy Brown

Today, we planted seeds in the green roof modules to replace plants that were missing as of two weeks ago when we took inventory. All of the plants that we replaced were the same type of plant- Blanketflower. It was interesting to see that none of the previous planted Blanketflower seeds had survived- very few actually even came up. I am curious how conducive the “green roof soil” that was used in the modules is for growing plants from seeds; I wasn’t working on the green roof at the time the original plants and seeds were planted, so I have no idea.

It is very surprising to me that there are actually plants surviving on a green roof in Texas. There are definitely some that are more suited for the conditions, most of which are succulents. In Texas, a green roof could definitely not survive without an irrigation source. While we are usually have drought-like conditions here, recently we received a great deal of rain that I think has helped the plants look greener and healthier-so in order for the green roof to have a real aesthetic value, the irrigation would need to be pretty extensive.

From a landscape architecture perspective, I am hopeful about the green roof and living walls that we are currently working with. While they may not look the best, it really is amazing to see green on a roof in Texas. Green roofs in Texas have the potential to be developed into a new type of beautiful, yet functional private and public spaces. I am also curious to see if edible plants can be grown on Texas green roofs at some point, and how that could impact food availability in many of the food deserts here.
PlantingSeeds

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Green roof – by Jannel Gonzales

A directed studies upperclassman course, Horticulture 485 – Green Roof at Texas A&M Fall 2013 semester, that I am enrolled in is continuing the care and maintenance of an ongoing project. This project is located on the top of a building on A&M campus, and has four different plots of similarly grown plants. Two of the plots are located on the floor of the roof, which is flat, and the other two are located on a wall, which is perpendicular the roof floor. The entire roof area is a bit different than a normally thought of roof in the way that it is a completely horizontal “floor” which does go outside (have access to sunlight with no roof) but also has walls and areas with small indoor (roof) access which actually supply shade for the plant areas. This most likely would not happen on other roofs, therefore this description is only given because I do think it has a big impact on the plants. It is probably very helpful for the plants to be shaded at some point and would be a concern on a roof that did not receive any shade at all. During the first month, September, of working with these projects I have taken pictures to document the progress. We have worked with the mounted plots of plants on the vertical roof walls more than the two plots on the roof floor. The two different areas will be referred to as the “Left wall” for the white background picture and “Right Wall” for the blue background picture. Please click here to read further and see more pictures in this pdf file: HORTBLG1_October 16

Camera Search and Greenroof Adjustments – by Logan Gerber-Chavez

The lightning rod was hooked into the grid by maintenance in the last week. We also ordered a new probe from Campbell and then went on a camera search for a camera that will actually work as opposed to our current option.

On the roof we discovered a small amount of water inside the East side box. We need to seal the boxes better with ‘monkey snot’. We had a compass to adjust the magnetic north for the weather station from the lightning rod installation that shifted it a bit.

We're on the lightning network.

We’re on the lightning network.

Unfortunate water collecting in the wiring container.

Unfortunate water collecting in the wiring container.

The lightning rod mount is being tightened.

The lightning rod mount is being tightened.

Big Rain Theories and the Lightning Network – by Logan Gerber-Chavez

First we looked at data to see the massive rainfall numbers that should show up on the 12th and 13th but something was wrong with the rain gauge reporting. The rainfall total was 0.09 and 0.07 respectively with the highest wind speed of 3.431 m/s, wind speed of 1.63 m/s, and wind gusts of 1.47 m/s. Obviously there is something also wrong with the anemometer because the gust measurement is lower than wind speed.

Confirming with the Mesonet site showed 5 inches, 3.07 inches on the 13th and a 7999 on the 14th (bad battery at the Mesonet site).

The first idea was that there was a power outage that would cause the data collection problems on the roof. We pulled the data to check for a visible gap but didn’t see one. Looking at the raw data there is 4.8 inches but the daily data doesn’t show anything. Records may be collecting at one minute after the hour instead of 23:59 because the ten minute and hourly show the correct numbers but daily doesn’t.

In another data problem #13 crashes every night but we don’t know why.

We went to the roof in the beautiful overcast weather.  We set up the cord for integration on the lightning network.

Moving some of the tiles to get wires underneath.

Moving some of the tiles to get underneath.

Replacing Plants and Positives of a Green Roof by Mark Benoit

Over the past month, we have been working on improving the green roof walls and making an inventory of plants that are on the roof. First, we replaced any plants on the wall near the instrument tripod. These plants died from the hot summer sun and lack of water. When we placed them on the wall, we packed plant root balls with the coconut fiber, which is a very good water retaining fiber, to help their water retention. This way, they should stay alive longer. The plants on are in pouches as you may be able to see, so there is a little bit of space for extra soil. In order to further help the wall retain water, we packed any empty spaces with the coconut fiber. Additionally, we added a couple more drip lines to the wall to ensure more even and complete watering throughout these pouches. We have yet to see how they hold up in some really hot days, but even after two weeks, they seem to be holding much more water than before. The other green wall that has a black frame around it was also packed with coconut fiber. Soil had fallen out of the containers, so we filled the extra spaces. The coconut fiber is very fine, so we had to wet it before we packed the wall. We were hoping that less soil would fall out of this wall if it retained more moisture as well as providing needed moisture to the plants. After two weeks, it seems to be doing well. If you look closely, you should be able to see the slightly darker coconut fiber on the wall.

From a meteorological perspective, one really interesting idea about green roofs that I have been reading about and learning is a green roof’s impact on water runoff from rain in addition to its impact on the urban heat island. Roofs account for a large portion of an impermeable surface in an urban environment and therefore can contribute to large runoffs. Green roofs can hold some water and ease the impacts of large water runoffs. Since green roofs house plants, these plants transpire and give out water vapor, which can cool a roof through evaporation.  If this large portion of the urban environment is cooler than it originally would be, then the higher temperatures associated with the city may be reduced.

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Greenroof gets a Lightning Rod – by Logan Gerber-Chavez

Today we came up with a to do list for the rest of the semester for things we need to do before we can look at data exclusively.

More importantly we were finally able to drill a hole in the weather station pole to install the lightning rod!

Dr. Conlee, Robbie Chilton, and Lauren Seidensticker review the website and some data from the past week.

Dr. Conlee, Robbie Chilton, and Lauren Seidensticker review the website and some data from the past week.

Kat Cobb and Kathryn Westerman prepare the weather station to install the lightning rod.

Kat Cobb and Kathryn Westerman prepare the weather station to install the lightning rod.

Kat Cobb, Kathryn Westerman, Logan Gerber-Chavez, and Dr. Conlee drill a hole in the lightning rod to allow it to be mounted to the weather station.

Kat Cobb, Kathryn Westerman, Logan Gerber-Chavez, and Dr. Conlee drill a hole to allow the lightning rod to be mounted to the weather station.

The new lightning rod is looking good.

The new lightning rod is looking good.

Greenroof Data Verification and GreenCamera Website – by Logan Gerber-Chavez

On September 25, we split in half again for those programming to work on the code improvements again while the roof group worked on troubleshooting problems with the equipment.

With the installation of the lightning rod we determined we would have to drill a hole in the pipe to fit the lightning rod on the top of the weather station.  The datalogger we installed last week was also not working, we suspected a short in the box but found that a fuse had burned out. We had to rearrange some of the wiring based on the new program code applied. Finally we had both Greenroof 1 and Greenroof 2 functional and delivering data.

The data from Greenroof 2 was streaming but we weren’t sure if the probes were labeled the way they were supposed to be. Our method of verification was to pull the probes out and put them in the shade one by one hoping to see a temperature difference. We saw #3 go change 1.3 degrees after 5 minutes which didn’t seem to be conclusive. We decided to bring ice water next week to individually test each probe to verify the correct label placement.

Greencamera.tamu.edu

The greenroof camera website is up and accessible!

Kathryn Westerman, Robby Chilton, Kat Cobb, Lauren Seidensticker, Dr. Conlee, and Logan Gerber-Chavez check on Greenroof2 wiring issues.

Kathryn Westerman, Robby Chilton, Kat Cobb, Lauren Seidensticker, Dr. Conlee, and Logan Gerber-Chavez check on Greenroof2 wiring issues.

Dr. Conlee points out video playback from new GreenCamera website showing Greenroof 1.

Dr. Conlee points out video playback from new GreenCamera website showing Greenroof 1.

Today, we installed the new fuse and the second group worked on formatting the website with tabbed data for soil moisture, soil temperature, and meteorological data in time series.

The roof half worked on verifying probe labels with ice water.

Probe

Original Temperature

Temperature by Time in Ice Water

Time

00:30

01:00

01:30

02:00

02:30

03:00

03:30

04:00

1

26.7

27.8

28

26.9

24

2

27.8

30

29.2

23.8

3

27.7

26.4

24.4

22.3

4

28.1

30.2

26.6

21.6

5

29.4

30.4

28.1

24

6

27.4

27.5

23.1

19.9

7

28.7

31.2

31.3

29.5

27.7

25.3

8

27.3

28

27.8

20.3

15.5

9

28.3

29.1

27.3

21.9

From our experiment, all of the probes were labeled correctly according to the following labels.

Probe layout diagram of Greenroof 2 (West side)

Probe layout diagram of Greenroof 2 (West side)

Kat Cobb, Kathryn Westerman, and Dr. Conlee watch probe values change on the public data website.

Kat Cobb, Kathryn Westerman, and Dr. Conlee watch probe values change on the public data website.

Kathryn Westerman dips the probe in ice water to test temperature.

Kathryn Westerman dips the probe in ice water to test temperature.

It's a beautiful (and really hot) day in College Station.

It’s a beautiful (and really hot) day in College Station.

Lauren Seidensticker and Robby Chilton work on website coding.

Lauren Seidensticker and Robby Chilton work on website coding.