At LTU, an innovative solution to green roof overgrowth

Release Date: April 1, 2017

green roof goat

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Mild February temperatures have led to an unusual problem with the green roof atop the Taubman Student Services Center. Since 2005, the center has been covered with 10,000 square foot Hydrotech Garden Roof, which is a “green” storm water management system comprised of a variety of perennial plants.

Hydrotech is normally a self-sustaining system. Its function has been seamless, completely renewable and carbon-neutral. However, with the coming of warmer temperatures in February, 2017, university scientists noted an interesting phenomenon. The sedum ground cover that acts as catchment and transitional water storage has demonstrated accelerated growth to 4 times its regular mass. Foliage control has become an issue. In keeping with its energy efficient philosophy, leadership from the departments of a civil and architectural engineering have decided on an unusual yet effective method for control.  

On March 25, Devo, a 2-year-old French Alpine goat, was introduced to the garden roof, where she will systematically manage the sedum overgrowth. In addition to ground cover control, an additional benefit will be the use of the milk she produces in the campus dining hall, Real Food on Campus (RFoC). “Our gyros and Greek salads will now feature goat cheese made in-house!” said LTU chef Rich Fromage.

University officials are pleased with the smooth introduction of Devo into her new habitat, as are most students and faculty who have learned of this new program. University officials say they are less enthusiastic, however, about the request from some members of the student body to change the LTU mascot from the Blue Devils to the Blue Goats.

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