First Advisor

David Sailor

Date of Publication

Fall 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical and Materials Engineering




Green roofs (Gardening) -- Design and construction, Green roofs (Gardening) -- Thermal properties, Soil temperature -- Measurement



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 77 pages)


In order to obtain credit for an eco-roof in building energy load calculations the steady state and time-varying thermal properties (thermal mass with evapotranspiration) must be fully understood. The following study presents results of experimentation and modeling in an effort to develop dynamic thermal mass performance metrics for eco-roof systems. The work is focused on understanding the thermal parameters (foliage & soil) of an eco-roof, further validation of the EnergyPlus Green Roof Module and development of a standardized metric for assessing the time-varying thermal benefits of eco-roof systems that can be applied across building types and climate zones. Eco-roof foliage, soil and weather parameters were continuously collected at the Green Roof Integrated PhotoVoltaic (GRIPV) project from 01/20/2011 to 08/28/2011. The parameters were used to develop an EnergyPlus eco-roof validation model. The validated eco-roof model was then used to estimate the Dynamic Benefit for Massive System (DBMS) in 4 climate-locations: Portland Oregon, Chicago Illinois, Atlanta Georgia and Houston Texas. GRIPV30 (GRIPV soil with 30% soil organic matter) was compared to 12 previously tested eco-roof soils. GRIPV30 reduced dry soil conductivity by 50%, increased field capacity by 21% and reduced dry soil mass per unit volume by 60%. GRIPV30 soil had low conductivity at all moisture contents and high heat capacity at moderate and high moisture content. The characteristics of the GRIPV30 soil make it a good choice for moisture retention and reduction of heat flux, improved thermal mass (heat storage) when integrating an eco-roof with a building. Eco-roof model validation was performed with constant seasonal moisture driven soil properties and resulted in acceptable measured - modeled eco-roof temperature validation. LAI has a large impact on how the Green Roof Module calculates the eco-roof energy balance with a higher impact on daytime (measured - modeled) soil temperature differential and most significant during summer. DBMS modeling found the mild climates of Atlanta Georgia and Houston Texas with eco-roof annual DBMS of 1.03, 3% performance improvement above the standard building, based on cooling, heating and fan energy consumption. The Chicago Illinois climate with severe winter and mild spring/summer/fall has an annual DBMS of 1.01. The moderate Portland Oregon climate has a below standard DBMS of 0.97.


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