Central Michigan University Adds Green Roof to Bioscience Building

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. — Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant recently completed the installation of a new 6,700-square-foot green roof on its new, soon-to-be-completed Biosciences Building, where students and staff will conduct both health and environmental research.

The green roof installation began July 22 and was completed July 26 by LiveRoof LLC of Nunica, Mich. Construction on the building itself began in July 2014, and work is slated for completion in September, with classes set to begin in January 2017. The new Biosciences Building marks the largest capital project in the university’s more than 120-year history, and was developed in response to a sharp rise in students pursuing degrees in the biosciences.

The 170,000-square-foot Biosciences Building, which anticipates at least LEED Silver certification, will house a wide variety of science labs; a 112-person capacity active learning classroom; numerous student study, collaboration and meeting spaces; and staff offices, according to a statement by LiveRoof. The Biosciences Building will eventually house 40 research-active faculty members, and the research conducted within the facility will allow the university to grow its reputation as a leader in human and environmental health and research.

“The Biosciences Building interior features abundant daylight, natural wood paneling and other sustainable materials [that] connect this building to its mission and work,” said Steve Lawrence, associate vice president for facilities management at CMU, in a statement. “The LiveRoof green roof and accompanying LiveWall, located inside the building, provide students and staff access to plants, natural views and daylight.”

LiveRoof green roofs are a patented, subterranean modular system that features soil and plants to create a meadow-like aesthetic, according to the company’s website. The installation provides a fully-grown carpet of custom-mix, draught-tolerant sedum plants providing color and function year-round. The green roofs also provide significant environmental benefits, according to the company. They can reduce stormwater runoff by between 50 percent and 90 percent, and can lower interior sound levels by as much as 40 decibels. Further, one square foot of green roof is capable of filtering seven ounces of dust and smog out of the environment per year, according to the company website. Plant photosynthesis also reduces greenhouse gases, and soil and plants provide a protective barrier to buildings, along with a waterproof roof lining, to extend roof life by as much as 200-300 percent.

“Central Michigan University is delivering a preeminent design in the new Biosciences Building,” said LiveRoof LLC Indiana Representative John Aleck in a statement. “This building is designed to support innovative research in bright, breathable laboratories. Providing faculty and students with an open, flexible work-study space will undoubtedly propel these programs to new levels while achieving sustainability stewardship.”

The new Biosciences Building, designed by Stantec Inc., will cost approximately $95 million. The project was supported by a $30 million state allocation as well as by the university’s internal reserves, contributions and proceeds from the issuance of bonds, according to a statement by the university.