“This is by far the most rigorous and comprehensive of all the test-roof research out there. In fact, it may be the only empirical study of a green roof. It's particularly notable that it’s in a Northern climate,” said the 2013 Professional Awards Jury.
The GRIT Lab is a state-of-the-art research facility and the only one of its kind in North America that studies the optimization of green roof performance. The Lab — which sits on top of the Daniels Faculty at 230 College Street — includes real time data monitoring and ongoing field observation to study the metrics associated with "green" technologies in order to provide an unprecedented, comprehensive, dynamic and hands-on understanding of the connection between factors related to water, energy, and biology and the performance of green roofs in an urban, north american climate.
What makes the GRIT Lab so great? Here are just some of the things listed on ASLA's website:
- Typically, green roof studies are conducted within the fields of Biology, Hydrology and Building Science and tend to focus on individual components or functions pertaining to their specialized field of study. The GRIT Lab approach is unique for its multi-disciplinary collaborative structure and for its simultaneous examination of plant growth, soil science, hydrology and energy for their mutual capacity to evapotranspire and reduce urban heat island effect; regulate water flow and minimize runoff and irrigation demand; and maintain a robust plant growth over time.
- Its research team includes faculty members and graduate students from the landscape architecture, engineering – hydrology and energy modeling and biology departments.
- The wide range of partnerships GRIT Lab has established with academic institutions, industry partners and government agencies have far reaching implications for education and knowledge transfer, innovation and commercialization, as well as policy and guidelines. It is expected that the research findings will augment the City of Toronto's Green Roof Constructions Standard as well as industry standards and GRP accreditation programs.
- The results of the study are specific to Southern Ontario, however, the study's approach and experimental design is transferable across regions. Landscape architects may have a better understanding of how to define the environmental performance objectives of green roof systems in relation to their own regional and climate specific priorities and become more equipped to discuss these priorities with their material vendors and sub-consultants.
- Finally, one of the primary objectives of GRIT Lab is to develop a unique hands-on opportunity for landscape students to work directly with the latest material and digital technologies, as well as with both industry experts and academics from a wide range of disciplines. The cross-pollination among various disciplines is intended to generate new ideas, while the link to industry and government agencies facilitates their implementation.