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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Students hope Zachry eco-roof takes root

Cody Franklin — THE BATTALION
If a student group’s project is approved, the Engineering Education Complex could have an energy efficient roof.
Cody Franklin — THE BATTALION If a student group’s project is approved, the Engineering Education Complex could have an energy efficient roof.

Future A&M engineering undergraduates may study with a “green” roof over their heads if a student-led design is included in the Engineering Education Complex.
Engineers Serving the Community — a student organization that seeks to better local communities through engineering — has designed a roof they hope will be part of the Zachry Building’s transformation into the EEC. Organization leaders say they received the renovation architects’ support, and now just need to secure the funding before their project can become a campus reality.
ESC members hope the green roof accomplishes two things — an increase in the EEC’s aesthetics and energy efficiency.
The idea was originally thought of in 2012, but there was no means to make the project a reality until the Zachry Building’s renovation began.
“It wasn’t until the Zachry-EEC renovation that we had a viable opportunity to really move forward with this idea, seeing as a building that’s basically being re-built could be designed with green roof considerations,” said Sonja Loy, senior biological and agricultural engineering major and green roof lead for ESC.
Green roofs seek to transform urban landscapes with rooftop vegetation. The surface absorbs rainwater and better manages the building’s heat cycle, reducing long-term energy consumption.
Loy said the green roof will be built if one more hurdle is successfully passed. While the project has received the go-ahead from construction architects, ESC must secure the funding. Loy said they hope to secure funding from an Aggie Green Fund grant.
“Currently we’re working on a proposal for a grant from the Aggie Green Fund to hopefully fund the project in part,” Loy said. “We have been working with and talking to those in charge of the construction and design of the Engineering Education Complex.”
Bo Wowtschuk, ocean engineering graduate student and ESC member, said the green roof project appealed to him for two different reasons.
“The reason I was interested is because it’s not only aesthetically pleasing, because our idea is to have people walk out into almost a little park kind of thing to be able to walk around there, but it is also increases the efficiency of the building,” Wowtschuk said. “It is supposed to insulate the building in the hot summers so you’re using less energy and then it’s also supposed to extend the life of the roof and protect it from the elements.”
The Zachry Engineering Complex will turn into the Engineering Education Complex when its multi-million dollar renovation is completed in 2017. A groundbreaking ceremony was held December 2014, and construction is expected to begin this month.
Tyler Buffington, mechanical engineering junior and ESC president, said when creating a new project such as this, the executive team contacts the necessary parties to get the project rolling.
“For green projects with the university, we usually meet with Kelly Wellman of the university’s Office of Sustainability and get her feedback,” Buffington said. “She typically helps us get in contact with another university official who can help us take our idea to the next step.”
Buffington said the green roof is by far the largest project they have ever undertaken. Unlike other projects, this project involved a lot of preparing persuasive technical presentations.
“Those who worked on the project grew as engineers by learning how to not only conduct research and calculations, but also to present their findings in a persuasive way,” Buffington said. “This skill is often overlooked in engineering even though it is immensely valuable.”
Wowtschuk hopes the group will be able to help with the construction of the roof.
“We would like to be hands on and I think that there is definitely a possibility of that but it’ll be contracted out, most likely, because it is a huge project and it really needs to be done right,” said Wowtschuk. “It just depends on how the contract works, but we’re hoping to be able to help out with the installation.”

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