Sustainability Topics

There is More Than One Way to Build a Green Roof

Last month Swarthmore College and the Scott Arboretum installed their fifth green roof on the Lang Performing Art Center’s six layered roof. All of our green roof installations were retrofitted to an existing roof, thus each one presented unique challenges and solutions. The latest install was no exception.

Roof membrane of the varying levels of the Lang Performing Arts Center roof. photo credit: L. Kesterson

Built in 1991, the Lang Performing Arts Center needed a new roof membrane this year;  a perfect opportunity to add a green roof to an existing building. Changing this roof to a green roof will …

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How the Scott Arboretum’s Sustainability Efforts are Part of a Larger Effort

The word “sustainable” is probably one of the most important words of this century. According to Merriam-Webster, if something is sustainable, it is “capable of being sustained; of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged; or, of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods.”


Rain barrel installed in Terry Shane Teaching Garden. photo credit: R. Robert

As emphasized in President Barrack Obama’s inauguration speech, becoming more sustainable as a society is a necessity for the future. There are a multitude …

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Green Roof Destruction

Last month while inspecting the green roof, Gardener Lars Rasmussen noticed extensive damage to the plantings on the roof. It appeared as if someone had come along, pulled up the sedum, and began digging in the soil.

Upon closer inspection, a population of Phyllophaga spp. was discovered below the soil. photo credit: W. Costello

On a subsequent visit, gardeners startled crows digging in soil and pulling up the sedum. Upon closer inspection, it was realized they were feasting on a population of newly hatched grubs in the soil of the green roof. These c-shaped white grubss were Phyllophaga spp., …

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