Members of UD, Delaware community celebrate green roof completion

October 3, 2012 under CANR News

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and members of the Delaware community joined University of Delaware students and faculty on Friday, Sept. 28, at Colburn Laboratory to celebrate the completion of the University’s first green roof on a classroom building.

The environmentally friendly green roof was made possible thanks to grant funding and some unique engineering by the school’s landscape design program.

“This new green roof project at the University of Delaware is a great example of the power of public-private partnerships,” Carper said. “With support from the state of Delaware, DuPont and the University of Delaware, this project is helping to lower energy use, clean the air and teach sustainable environmental practices to future generations at the same time.”

Mark Rieger, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), said at the celebration, “It’s great to see horticulture — and I’m speaking as a horticulturist now — come to the intersection of engineering and art.”

Chad Nelson, assistant professor of landscape design, thanked all of those who helped the project along the way. “I knew when we started that we could do this, that we could get a green roof on campus but I knew that it wouldn’t be easy,” said Nelson. “I really want people to see the roof and think of other places on campus or in the community where people might be interested in starting new projects. Green roofs, while they aren’t the entire answer, really are a beautiful and effective way of helping us to address some serious issues.”

About 600 engineering students take classes in the Colburn Lab’s one-story classroom wing, where indoor temperatures have been known to reach 86 degrees due to heat transfer from its southern exposure, wide expanses of glass and flat roof. Installing reduced wattage lights, ventilation maintenance and other measures failed to reduce temperatures to levels low enough for learning.

Among the chronically overheated were Annette Shine, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and her teaching assistant, Kathy Phillips, who thought a green roof might make a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly difference.

They connected with Nelson and student Aaron Hallett who were interested in starting a green roof project on campus.

The resulting green roof plan offers a variety of environmental, educational and fiscal benefits such as:

  • An insulating effect, with 4-inch deep plantings reducing the temperature of the roof and keeping the classrooms and occupants below cooler by six degrees or more;
  • Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by reducing demand on building HVAC systems;
  • A sponge effect, absorbing storm water runoff to improve water quality in nearby waterways;
  • A teaching tool, allowing engineering students to study “green engineering” solutions in a living classroom;
  • An opportunity for students to get hands-on experience in growing the plants and installing the system;
  • A less costly option than replacing the building’s HVAC, reduced energy costs from operating the existing system with less demand — and a more attractive view from the three-story portion of the building overlooking the roof.

Built in the 1960s, the one-story building had been originally designed to have additional stories added later, so an initial study found the existing roof structure could support the additional weight.

With that key question answered, the project moved forward, with total costs of $72,000. The project received a $40,000 Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program grant, administered by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Energy and Climate, plus a $10,000 from the DuPont Clear into the Future program for environmentally-beneficial projects protecting the Delaware Estuaries and $5,000 each from two UD programs, the University of Delaware Energy Institute and the University of Delaware Sustainability Fund.

Instead of using a membrane system that would cover the whole roof, Nelson opted for a modular system consisting of 2-foot by 2-foot plastic trays that could be installed by students and volunteers and moved for roof maintenance. A safety railing was installed around the roof edge, along with a locking door for roof access.

Beginning last spring, students from CANR propagated heat-hardy plants including several varieties of colorful sedum, plus chives and crocus. The students then established them in the trays with help from local Girl Scouts and began moving them to the roof into a pattern that echoes the layout of the building below.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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Jack Gelb awarded 2012 Worrilow Award

January 23, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Worrilow Award winners (from left to right) Ted Haas(2001), Wesley Towers (1990), Jack Gelb (2012), U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Walter Hopkins (1997), Joanne Whalen (2011), Buzz Klopp (2000) and Ed Kee (1995). Present but not pictured was Keith Carlisle (1998).

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper spoke to a large gathering at University of Delaware Cooperative Extension’s Friends of Ag Breakfast in Harrington on Friday, Jan. 20, concluding a successful Delaware Ag Week. The breakfast also served as the occasion to present the 2012 George M. Worrilow Award to UD’s Jack Gelb, Jr.

Gelb is chair of UD’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences and director of the Avian Bioscience Center in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).

The award is presented annually by the UD Agricultural Alumni Association to an individual, in recognition of exemplary service to agriculture. The honor is named for Dr. George M. Worrilow, who served as dean of the college from 1954 to 1965.

Past Worrilow Award honorees Ted Haas (2001) and Spangler (Buzz) Klopp (2000) saluted Gelb’s five decades of excellence and his significant contributions to CANR, Delaware agriculture and, in particular, to the Delmarva poultry Industry.

“Jack is known to Delaware, nationally and internationally for his research and emphasis in avian respiratory diseases, avian influenza, and for his major role in the discovery of Gumboro Disease,” Klopp said.

The economic benefits of his research have been significant, saving the Delaware poultry economy $250,000 a week, Klopp told the large audience.

“This is an incredible honor for me,” Gelb said. “I did not have the opportunity to meet this fine gentleman (George Worrilow) but I have heard so many stories how he set things up and got things done. He inspired people about agriculture. That’s what it is all about, isn’t it?”

At UD, Gelb earned a bachelor’s degree in entomology in 1974 and a master’s degree in animal virology in 1976. He received his doctorate in microbiology and avian medicine from the University of Georgia.

“I came to the college in the 1970s, riding that first ecology wave and then, as now, students were welcomed, nurtured and developed there,” Gelb said.

He recalled, “As students, we got to work with leading veterinarians and researchers and work with farmers directly.”

Gelb marveled at the value of being able to put what was learned in the classroom and lab to practical use in the field.

Remarks on behalf of Gov. Markell

Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, former UD Extension specialist and Worrilow Award recipient in 1995, brought remarks from Gov. Jack Markell and kudos for Gelb.

Kee said previous recipients review the resumes and make recommendations for the award. “You set a high bar,” Kee said.

Kee shared remarks of behalf of the governor and the administration’s efforts to promote Delaware agriculture and its continued competitiveness in a global market.

“Gov. Markell appreciates the economic importance of agriculture, as a way of life and for the cultural traditions that are a part of Delaware,” Kee said.

Kee cited the success of the Young Farmer’s Program, which offers zero percent interest to enable the purchase of land and assists the next generation of farmers in the settlement process.

“The governor understands the need to sustain our profitability and keep on the competitive edge in ag,” Kee said.

Through a strategic fund, the Markell administration supports infrastructure and businesses that are agricultural fixtures in Delaware, including Perdue, Mountaire, Vlasic and Hanover. “We want to keep them here and allow them to compete in a global economy,” Kee said.

At the breakfast Kee shared that Markell acknowledged the Delaware Rural Irrigation Program (DRIP) in his recent State of the State address. Through the investment of strategic funds, Delaware farmers are able to invest in new irrigation systems. In the past, Delaware has gone from 25,000 acres to 130,000 acres of irrigated cropland. “Farmers made that investment. That is why agriculture works in Delaware,” he said.

Nutrient management

Also at the event, Carper saluted Delaware agriculture and its willingness to face inland bay pollution head on by taking the lead in the formation of the Nutrient Management Commission in the 1990s.

Dave Baker, chair of the commission, and William Vanderwende, vice-chair, were recognized for their efforts and were presented with framed copies of Congressional Record statements issued on Dec. 14, 2011.

“In our state the ag community stood up really tall,” Carper said. He recognized the leadership of Baker and other farmers who created an enviable model for the nation to follow.

“It is incredible what you put into it,” Carper said. “It is amazing what we accomplish when we work together.”

Article by Michele Walfred, also viewable on UDaily

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Jan. 20: Friends of Ag Breakfast

December 13, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Gov. Jack Markell and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper will speak at a Friends of Ag Breakfast on Jan. 20, beginning at 7:15 a.m. This special Friends of Ag Breakfast is being held in conjunction with Delaware Ag Week, which runs Jan. 16-21.

The breakfast will take place at the Harrington Fire Company, located near the Delaware State Fairgrounds, where most Ag Week activities will be held.

In his talk, Markell will emphasize the important role that Delaware agriculture plays in the state’s economy and in its quality of life. He also will acknowledge the Young Farmer’s program, a brand-new initiative that reduces the capital investment for young people looking to set up an agribusiness.

Carper has chosen to reflect on the accomplishments of Delaware’s Nutrient Management Commission and the role that the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the University of Delaware have played in creating one of the most effective nutrient management programs in the nation.

Ag Week is presented annually by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture. The Friends of Ag Breakfast is held three times throughout the year and is sponsored by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension.

Ag Week, now in its seventh year, draws farmers, agriculture industry professionals, Cooperative Extension specialists, research scientists and others together to exchange information and ideas. This year, presentations will be made on bumblebee pollination research in Delaware’s watermelon crop, labor issues for produce growers, grain marketing, maximizing forage utilization, and much more.

This season’s Friends of Ag Breakfast series ends on March 16 with a presentation by state Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. He will speak about the state of agriculture in Delaware and give an update about state Department of Agriculture activities. This breakfast will be held at the Modern Maturity Center, 1121 Forrest Avenue in Dover.

Both Friends of Ag Breakfasts begin at 7:15 a.m. and registration is $20. To register for one or both events, call Alice Moore at 302-831-2504. For more information about Ag Week programs, visit this website.

Article by Margo McDonough

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