Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
News
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
 

Gardens on the roofs: waste management, crop production, and more greenery
7/25/2017
Dana Abed  |  Office of Advancement  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 
Beirut Rooftops is a concept created by Professor and Chairperson of the Biology Department, Dr. Imad Saoud, and his team of researchers at the American University of Beirut (AUB) with the purpose of recycling waste, adding greenery to the concrete-packed city, and harvesting healthy vegetables. 

Using mature compost obtained from the composting process of food waste, cellulose pellets recycled from paper and cartons, and mulch obtained from the shredding of dried branches and leaves, Dr. Saoud and his team built planting structures on the roof of the Biology Department. The structures were used to plant kale, lettuce, radish, basil, tomatoes, and cucumbers, among other vegetables. The gardens are also watered from the dispensed water coming from air conditioning (AC) devices, mostly going to waste otherwise.

“The whole idea of this research is to reduce garbage in landfills, use garbage productively, use water from ACs, decrease the energy of AC use, reduce the heat island effect in urban settings, and hopefully increase biodiversity,” said Dr. Saoud. 

The project started in 2013 at the very early stage of the garbage crisis in Lebanon. The project was executed in collaboration with Ziad Abi Chaker, a Lebanese businessman specialized in waste management and recycling. Abi Chaker provided the recycled cardboards and the compost, which weighs less than soil but holds the plants and the water without threatening the structure of the building. 

Dr. Saoud explained that rooftop gardens are not a new concept in urban settings; however, he found that applying them in Lebanon using recycled material can be beneficial on various levels. 

The first implementation took place in 2015, when flat structures were installed. A weather station was set up on the roof. Research studies compared the temperature of the building on which the garden was placed to other locations with no gardens. It was found that the rooftop gardens helped reduce the temperature of the building, hence reducing the energy consumed by air conditioners.  The second phase of the project, in 2016, included the implementation vertical structures, which have the ability to contain more plants, creating further production and greenery. For a cycle of 41 days, and with 12 vertical planting structures installed, 2,056 lettuces were produced. The recycled material used is equivalent to 10,600 plastic bags and 2,500 kilograms of food waste. 

Dr. Saoud explained that this project can be applied on any rooftop, provided that the structure of the building can support the planting structures.

“Can you imagine how much cooler Beirut would be if its roofs were green, and the amount of effort to invest was not that much,” said Dr. Saoud. “You can plant grass if you want. A rooftop is a flat place, if you put soil and plant it, you have a garden.”


Story Highlights
  • ​Beirut Rooftops is a concept created by Professor and Chairperson of the Biology Department, Dr. Imad Saoud, and his team of researchers at the American University of Beirut (AUB) with the purpose of recycling waste, adding greenery to the concrete-packed city, and harvesting healthy vegetables.
 
Related Info
Contact Info
Office of Communications
Tel: 961-1-350000 Ext. 2670
Email: media@aub.edu.lb
 
 
News AUB in the News
Google Plus AUB Google+ Page
Facebook AUB Facebook Page
You Tube AUB YouTube Channel
Twitter AUB Twitter Page
Instagram AUB Instagram Account
Contact us Jobs Disclaimer Copyright Non-Discrimination/Title IX