New biomedical building features first green rooftop on University of Iowa campus

Nick Fetty | July 28, 2014
The Old Capitol Building on the University of Iowa campus. Photo by Matthew Anderson; Flickr
The Old Capitol Building on the University of Iowa campus.
Photo by Matthew Anderson; Flickr

The University of Iowa’s new Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building (PBDB) is the first building on campus to feature a green rooftop.

Crews began planting various perennial sedums – such as black-eyed Susan alliums, liatris, and hostas – in the spring. These plants are expected to provide several perks from a social and aesthetic perspective to environmental and sustainability benefits. The green rooftop is expected to not only save money on energy costs but also help to control water runoff and mitigate erosion. This rooftop greenery was key to the PBDB receiving gold-level LEED certification.

The University of Iowa has two buildings with platinum-level LEED certification and six that have achieved gold status. A recent list compiled by College Prowler ranked the University of Iowa the 279th greenest college campus in the nation and 6th amongst colleges in Iowa.

However, the PBDB will not be the only building on campus to utilize a green roof. The new Art Building – which is expected to be completed by 2016 – is projected to include a 14,600-square-foot rooftop garden, more than double the size the garden (6,440-square feet) on PBDB’s roof. The PBDB open earlier this month and is expected to be fully operational in the coming months.

Soil erosion problem and more: Leopold shares parting thoughts in Des Moines Register

Richard Leopold

On Sunday, outgoing Iowa DNR director Richard Leopold shared some final thoughts about the state of Iowa’s environment in a Des Moines Register guest column.  There, he lamented about the state’s lack of progress in cleaning its rivers, it’s underfunded state parks, and the politicization of science (“Sadly, many of the scientific “debates” of today are not scientific debates; they are about power and money.”).

Leopold also shared a startling statistic about Iowa’s increasing infertility: Continue reading