Examining Green Roofs at Kansas State University

by Lee R. Skabelund, ASLA

Green roof across the seasons
The Seaton Hall Upper Green Roof at Kansas State University / images: K-State

The Kansas State University Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning hosted a colloquium this past fall on Examining Green Roofs at Kansas State University with the Aim of Improving Design, Implementation & Management.

Associate Professor Lee Skabelund’s Mary K. Jarvis Chair research in Manhattan, Kansas has focused on understanding the performance and dynamics of five living roofs on the K-State campus. These efforts have been supported by the excellent work of three graduate students (Allyssa Decker, Priyasha Shrestha, Student ASLA, and Pam Blackmore), undergraduate student Marcos Aleman, Student Affiliate ASLA, faculty, staff, and students from several other colleges and entities at K-State, visiting scholar Jialin Liu, and other green roof researchers.

This research provides essential baseline knowledge for long-term green roof research and monitoring of the K-State Memorial Stadium Green Roofs (implemented in 2015 and 2016), and the K-State APDesign Experimental Green Roof (constructed in 2017). These efforts complement Professor Skabelund’s ongoing long-term observations, data collection, and hands-on management of a number of green infrastructure systems within local communities.

This collaborative research effort is expected to help guide future plans, designs, and management activities for green roofs and other green infrastructure within the Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie Eco-region, across the Central Plains, and elsewhere.

image: Lee Skabelund

The presentation highlights the vital role of prairie-like green roofs and other types of green infrastructure—as well as native or planted prairies, savannas, woodlands, wetlands, and other ecosystems—to create integrated open space networks that support a wide-range of services and functions for people, for other creatures, and for the health of the planet.

A recording of the presentation may be viewed online.

For more information—including on the CitiesAlive presentation discussed in the presentation, “Towards characterizing green roof vegetation using color-infrared and thermal sensors, ” and other resources—see the K-State Green Roofs webpage.

Lee R. Skabelund, PLA, ASLA, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning at Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning and Design.

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