Colorado College gets energy efficient with live green roof

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado College is planning to be carbon neutral by 2020.

“We’re laying out small boxes of different succulents that are habitable in Colorado climates and turning this sort of unused space into a green roof so that this corridor has a better view,” said Emma Kearney, a senior at CC.

But before the Honnen Ice Arena’s roof could be made green, preparation steps had to be taken beforehand.

“We installed a membrane on the roof and it’s been here for about a year now, we made sure it was leak proof and everything. And the next process, we installed an irrigation system, we put the edging in and now today we got the plants delivered,” said Josh Ortiz, ground supervisor for CC.

Additionally, CC says these plants have a number of benefits – from reducing storm water runoff by 65 to 90 percent in the summer, to 25 to 40 percent in the winter, and reducing energy costs when it comes to heating and cooling.

“When the moisture gets into the soil, it does not get the roof as hot as it would if it was just a regular roof. So, the moisture keeps it a lot cooler in the summer time,” Ortiz said.

More than 20 CC students put nearly 13,000 plants together on the roof, which will also help extend the roof life by 40 to 50 years.

This is the first green roof installed on the campus. Two more are planned for the near future.

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