Monitor the health of Green Roof in real time.

Green Roofs on buildings have huge benefits in many areas. One of the most important benefits is the capability to retain water.

A mix of Sedum plants

When a large amount of rain falls in a short time period, many modern cities will experience floods, due to the fact that the sewage is not capable to handle a large amount of water in a short time span. Green roofs have the capability to retain large amounts of water, and therefore decrease the demand on the sewage system. Green roofs do however increase the need for maintenance, such as watering, fertilizing, etc. It’s also a risk that part of the plant’s needs to be replaced. To mitigate these risk GreenBeat, a provider of green roof solutions, asked IntelZone to find solutions for monitoring of the plants health as well as automating watering at optimal times. Another important factor to monitor is the difference between the rain that falls and the water running from the roof.  IntelZone was asked to implement a sensing solution for a green roof measuring 60 m2.

Proposed solution:

Greenbeat hired IntelZone to implement a solution combining sensor data, on humidity, temperature, light level and PH-level, together with a weather forecast and historical data, IntelZone proposed a real-time view of the health of the green roof. Further, two rain gauge where installed to monitor the amount of rain, and a sensor for monitoring the amount of water running from the roof.  As well as a recommendation of actions, as well as automated watering. The solution will consist of sensors connected to a gateway running AWS software. The gateway will then upload the needed data to AWS Cloud solutions, such as AWS S3 and Amazon DynamoDB for storage as well as Amazon QuickSight for visualization.

A dashboard where the health of the green roof is shown in real-time, will be implemented to help with the day to day maintenance. The Dashboard will highlight parts of the roof that are showing signs of needing nurture. This will improve the level of care and decrease the time spent on maintenance of the green roof. It will also show an approximation of the amount of rain the roof could handle, without any significant amount of water running from the roof.

 

 

Outcome:

 

The Green roof was split into sections of 4 by 4 meters, giving 4 sections, where each section was monitored using sensors for temperature, humidity and light level. PH sensors have a higher cost so it was decided to monitor the PH the 4 sectors combined, reducing the need for sensors. A different approach would be to lead water from each sector for a more extensive water quality test. This would, however, increase the complexity of the project and was deemed to be out of scope for this project.

Each sector communicated with a central gateway connected to AWS Cloud solution. Data was uploaded periodically to decrease the cost. The amount of data uploaded was also regulated such that the sensor data must have changed by a certain threshold to be uploaded.

An approximation of the remaining reservoir water capacity of the green roof was implemented and shown in the dashboard.

The dashboard was implemented to show the most relevant information. This includes the humidity of the soil, temperature and humidity of the air, light levels as well as a weather forecast and if the automatic watering system is running