Elk River’s Wastewater Treatment Plant is undergoing an upgrade and expansion and was found to be an optimal site for a green roof installation demonstration project. The city submitted a project request to the University of St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership to analyze the cost and benefits of green roof designs. Students, under the direction of professor Chip Small, conducted research on green roof models, roof functions, appropriate plants, costs, and the social, economic and ecological benefits of the individual designs.
Gretta Johnson, a biology of global health major, said: “It’s very exciting to know that I am able to make a difference in the ‘real world’ of sustainability. We can learn about environmental problem-solving forever but actually making a difference and doing a real project is pretty cool.”
The project team presented its work and a report of the findings at the plant on May 12. The report outlines a cost-benefit analysis of the models and recommendations on which designs they believe will suit the city’s needs. The report is available at www.stthomas.edu/media/officeofsustainability/spring2016posters/GreenRoofReport.pdf.