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March 21st, 2014:

The Green Solution

photo: bburky

Longwood is allowed to burn 34,000 tons of sawdust per year. Longwood’s carbon footprint is increased significantly because one ton of wood releases approximately 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide into the air.  To continue Longwood University’s green efforts I propose to install a green roof system.  Green roofs are structures that are made of organic plant materials.  Essentially they are rooftop gardens. The green roofs are built with the ability to collect water, which means they can water themselves unless there is a drought. Green roofs help insulate the buildings they are built on which helps reduce the heating and air conditioning that would otherwise be needed.

The problem that green roofs would alleviate on Longwood’s campus is the emission of carbon from the burning wood chips that are used to heat campus.  Dorrill Dining Hall would be the most ideal place to construct one of these green roofs because it is very near to the burner rooms where the carbon dioxide would be released from.  Also, the dining hall is made of windows on one side of the upper level which makes it very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer, requiring more air-conditioning and heating.  The green roof would help insulate the building and keep it warmer in the winter.

A potential problem I see with relying on one green roof to reduce Longwood’s carbon footprint is that the plants that would be planted would not be evergreen trees.  Winter is when Longwood uses most of the sawdust for heating residence buildings and classrooms and without evergreen trees the plants would die or hibernate and take in less carbon dioxide.  Another factor to consider is the need for plants that require direct sunlight all day since they would be planted on the