Date of Thesis

Spring 2012


Green roof mitigation of volume and peak flow-rate of stormwater runoff has been studied extensively. However, due to the common practice of green roof fertilization, there is the potential for introduction of nutrients into local bodies of water. Therefore, this study compares green roof runoff quality with the water quality of precipitation and runoff from a bare shingle roof. The runoff from a demonstration-scale extensive green roof was analyzed during the summer of 2011 for its effect on runoff volume and analyzed during eleven storm events in the fall and winter for concentrations of copper, cadmium, zinc, lead, nitrogen species, total nitrogen, total organic carbon, sulfate, orthophosphate, and other monovalent and divalent ions. The green roof reduced the overall volume of runoff and served as a sink for NO3 - and NH4 +. However, the green roof was also a source for the pollutants PO4 3-, SO4 2-, TOC, cations, and total nitrogen. Metals such as zinc and lead showed trends of higher mass loads in the bare roof runoff than in precipitation and green roof runoff, although results were not statistically significant. The green roof also showed trends, although also not statistically significant, of retaining cadmium and copper. With the green roof serving as a source of phosphorous species and a sink for nitrogen species, and appearing to a retain metals and total volume, the life cycle impact analysis shows minimum impacts from the green roof, when compared with precipitation and bare roof runoff, in all but fresh water eutrophication. Therefore, the best environments to install a green roof may be in coastal environments.


Green Roof, Extensive, Runoff, Water Quality

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Kevin Gilmore

Second Advisor

Richard Crago