Manchester's First Green Roof Unveiled Thanks to Cooperative Extension
November 21, 2007
Perennial plants in the green roof system—sedums and chives—can withstand
extreme temperatures and precipitation, and require little maintenance.
The green roof planted on Manchester City Hall's roof was officially recognized
last Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by city officials, contributors
and partnering organizations.
UNH Cooperative Extension conceived the idea for the demonstration project
and began recruiting partners from the Manchester community in 2002. The essential
components, an appropriate site, city approval, and funding finally came together
last May, helping Extension move forward and get the roof in place.
Most of the rain that hits a conventional city building's roof flows off over
pavement and into storm drains, carrying pollutants such as gasoline, oil,
antifreeze, sand and trash. The GreenGrid roof will absorb up to 95 percent
of an average rainfall. By slowly percolating through the plants and soil of
the green roof, runoff occurs several hours after peak flows, giving sewer
systems time to handle other runoff.
Cooperative Extension dean and director John Pike, who participated in the
event, noted Extension’s longtime involvement with the people of Manchester.
In the past 12 years alone, Extension staff has become increasingly active
in the urban heart of New Hampshire.
Much of Extension’s work has centered around organizing grassroots coalitions
that brought together local residents, Extension staff and volunteers, various
city departments, nonprofit organizations, and the business community to improve
the beauty, livability, safety, natural resources and social integration of
Manchester's low-income neighborhoods. The new green roof is but one such example
of these collaborative efforts.
Phil Bryce, state forester, N.H. Division of Forests and Lands, talked about
the important role of natural resources and our urban forests and how green
roofs contribute to both.
UNH Cooperative Extension's community forestry educator, Mary Tebo, the driving
force behind this effort, noted there will be another green roof growing in
Manchester next summer.