WASHINGTON DC (WUSA) -- A new environmentally-friendly "green" roof will get the finishing touches Wednesday on the campus of American University, enhancing the school's already strong eco-friendly reputation.
More than 50 volunteers from AU, its alumni, staff, and neighbors from McLean Gardens community of Northwest Washington spent several days installing the roof on the Kogod School of Business. Volunteers put low-maintenance plants on the roof to top it off. The school has dubbed it a modern "old-fashioned barn raising" as the community is actively involved.
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"Green roofs are designed to manage storm water on site," according to Chris O'Brien, American University's Director of Sustainability. "We filter storm water, and slow it down so it doesn't turn into dirty water" which could pollute the Anacostia or Potomac Rivers, as well as the Chesapeake Bay.
The school promised to allow easy access to the roof for students, faculty, and staff hoping to learn more about the environmentally friendly design. "Our approach to this project is we wanted it to be educational because we are a university," said O'Brien.
According to American University, it has the highest density of green roofs on a college campus in the District with at least five of them. O'Brien said "We're proud to be a campus in this city, and we're doing our part to be green." Washington itself has the second highest number of green roofs in the country, trailing only Chicago.
Besides being environmentally friendly, the green roof will help American University's bottom line. The school says it will improve energy efficiency, which will cut down on electric bills. It will also save AU on a new "impervious surface fee" by DC Water. The charge is levied for storm water runoff. O'Brien says when customers manage their storm water, they can avoid the fee.
Written by Dan Guzman
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