Green Roof Covers Ice Arena

Edited by Ivy Chang | September 28, 2010

Landscape technicians Brianna Grodahl (left) and Kevin Gohl, who work for Aloha Landscaping in Mendota Heights, MN, helped plant the green roof.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC), Prior Lake, MN, is installing a 32,648-square-foot green roof on top of its Dakotah! Sport and Fitness ice arena, its second arena. The flat commercial roof will have engineered soil and shallow-rooted perennial plants that will hold rain water and slowly release it over time.

This technology reduces the total storm water runoff from the building, reduces erosion, and improves water quality. Temperature management inside the building is simpler with this technology that will extend the life of the roof up to 50 years by protecting it from ultraviolet radiation.

Research conducted on energy savings of green roof

Viewed from the ground, the green roof will appear like any ordinary roof except for the plants that will be visible depending on elevation of nearby roads. A small viewing platform will be built around the roof, which is the largest green roof in the Upper Midwest.

Sedum, a shallow-root perennial, will be grown in engineered soil, which is composed of pumice, ground coconut husks and pine bark. Five varieties of sedum cuttings with different textures and colors will be planted to grow up to 8 inches in height. The plants need no mowing and will be watered by SMSC staff.

An SMSC groundbreaking research team will conduct a study on the green roof to evaluate inflow and outflow of water to the plants and measure the capacity used. Team members also will compare utility expenses for the existing ice arena and this new arena looking at a return on investment and hope to quantify savings on energy costs.

Recycled heat and solar panels add to green features

Chair of the community, Stanley R. Crooks, said, "In looking at green roof technology, we found that there has not been any large-scale research on several factors important to its success. Our staff will work to determine the importance of different variables to come up with optimum conditions for the success of a green roof in the Midwest. Then, we will share that data in the appropriate professional forums."

In addition to the green roof, Dakotah! Sport and Fitness has a compressor system and heat exchanger to take waste heat from the ice-making equipment and redirect it through the bleachers to heat the concrete and make the seating area more comfortable for fans.

During July, construction crews installed 16 solar panels in two banks of eight on the roof to heat water for use in the ice resurfacing equipment.

Fitness facility serves local community

The ice arena is home to the Prior Lake High School Girls and Boys hockey teams and the Prior Lake Hockey Association. In addition to the ice arena, Dakotah! Sport and Fitness holds a running track, aquatic center, a double gymnasium, a cardio studio, a cycling studio, group fitness classes, free weights, circuit training equipment, and more.

The green roof was designed, constructed and installed by Minnesota companies: HTG Architects of Eden Prairie, Aloha Landscaping of Mendota Heights, and Rosenquist Construction of Minneapolis.

In addition to owning two ice arenas, SMSC, a federally recognized Indian tribe in Prior Lake and Shakopee, MN, owns and operates Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Little Six Casino, Playworks, The Meadows at Mystic Lake, Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store, and other enterprises on the reservation south of the Twin Cities.