Green roof garden suitability assessment at BU

Project Partner: BU Sustainability, Spring 2019

Project summary: Urban farms provide a unique opportunity for communities to engage with food production through awareness initiatives and active involvement producing crops and honey (if bee hives are included). Besides aesthetics, this can also slightly decrease reliance on external food sources transported from rural farms, thereby reducing carbon emissions. Roof top gardens are most easily installed on buildings that are structurally sound, receiving significant renovations, or currently being built. Based on the feasibility study, Warren Towers could be considered in the short term as the has a roof top courtyard that is very visible with large windows to a common space. Warren Towers has a dining hall on the same floor as the courtyard where food could be transported. In the medium/long term the George Sherman Union and Mugar Library will require roof renovations. The Mugar Library has three visible, wide terraces, which are also close to dining halls. One installed, maintenance for all three locations could cost $3,900-$57,800 annually if using Recover Green Roofs but the green roof gardens could yield >100,000 pounds of edible vegetables per year. Places like Fenway Park and Boston Medical Center have used crops from their roof top gardens in their facilities, produced honey, and allowed staff and patients to volunteer.

Project deliverables: Policy brief and green roof suitability calculator that helps assesses structural integrity of the roof and estimates ecosystem services impact from green roof installation.


Potential green roof locations at Boston University. a) Solar potential of roofs on campus. Aerial views of potential green roof areas of b) Warren Towers courtyard, c) sideview and e) plan view of Mugar Library roof top, and d) George Sherman Union.