For her work with living roof design, Associate Professor, Dr. Elizabeth Fassman-Beck, Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering recently received the Wesley W. Horner award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Dr. Fassman-Beck was cited for the paper, “Moisture Measurement as Performance Criteria for Extensive Living Roof Substrates," published in the Journal of Environmental Engineering, August 2012.
Increasingly popular for storm water management, a “living roof” or “green roof” consists of an engineered system that includes a drainage layer, soil-less growing medium, and plants. The living roof is designed for rainwater capture with consideration to structural load, safety and cost.
Since a living roof sends water back into the atmosphere, it prevents runoff from rooftops, thereby addressing the problem of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO), which dumps a noxious combination of waste and storm water into nearby rivers, bays, and estuaries.
Because there are currently no widely accepted technical specifications for living roof design, the paper was recognized for its breakthroughs in establishing a link between the design of a roof and the amount of rainfall it will capture.
“Engineers design technology to achieve a particular function,” says Dr. Fassman-Beck. “And in this case the living roof is the technology, and the function is rainfall capture.”
Recognized for her contribution to engineering science, Dr. Fassman-Beck will be presented with her award during the World Environmental & Resources (EWRI) Congress in Portland, Oregon, from June 1-5, 2014.