Posted Online: May 15, 2012, 10:16 pm

BHC's new Sustainable Technologies Building gets a green roof

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By Anthony Watt,

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Kaylee Neipert with Roof Top Sedums helps install some of the nearly 400 planters that comprise the 'green roof' on Black Hawk College's new Sustainable Technologies building in Moline on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. Close to 800 square feet of the rooftop will be covered by vegetation that will help with water retention and insulation.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Black Hawk College's wind turbine serves as a backdrop for the 'green roof' being installed on the school's new Sustainable Technologies building.
The top of Black Hawk College's new Sustainable Technologies Building bloomed Tuesday with the installation of a green roof.

Construction on the $3.7 million building began in late 2011. It will house several school programs and labs and showcase a variety of environmentally friendly or energy-saving building techniques, including the green roof.

The plants that comprise a green roof help insulate the building to keep heating and cooling costs down, and they absorb rain and other moisture that otherwise would become runoff. The plants will serve a third purpose as well -- instruction.

"We're building a really green facility, but it's also supporting what we're teaching," Michael Rivera, Black Hawk dean of instruction and student learning, said.

Mike Phillips, the school's vice president of administration, said students will be able to observe the green roof remotely by camera, making it possible to study its functions.

The design also includes a wind turbine that supplements the building's energy supply, a geothermal field to help heat and cool the building and solar thermal heating to supplement the hot water heater.

These also will serve as learning aids for Black Hawk students, who will be able to measure output of the various systems and how they affect the building's energy footprint.

The building will house Black Hawk's associate's degree program in materials science technology and three new certificates designed to cover materials used in manufacturing, Mr. Rivera said. Those materials include metals, polymers, ceramics, composites, electronic materials, biomaterials and nanotechnology.

The sustainable energy certificate and other engineering technology programs also will be in the building along with new programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Mr. Rivera said.

The building is expected to be completed by the end of this month, and installation of the laboratory equipment is expected to be done by June, he said.

Black Hawk did not seek LEED certifications for the project. Such certification is expensive and could have eliminated some educational opportunities for students. Instead, Black Hawk formed a partnership with MidAmerican Energy and an engineering firm to design the building.

The Illinois Jobs Now! bill provided $1 million for the project, with the remainder paid from a bond sale. The college will recoup $23,000 through MidAmerican Energy's Commercial New Construction program.

The green roof was grown by Roof Top Sedums of Davenport according to a news release.