Although green roof gardens help moderate inside temperature, manage stormwater runoff, improve air quality, and have many other benefits, we wanted our green roof garden to go farther. We want our smart green roof deck to be online and join the internet of things (IoT). This serves two purposes:
- If garden data is available online, we can use it to help automate the garden and reduce maintenance like watering, monitoring, etc. since a building owner could check on the system from anywhere
- By making the data publicly available, we could engage local communities
Let’s focus on number two for a minute. An organization call the greenSTEM network is doing something similar – you can see and download raw data from their garden sensors at several different sites. This would enable teachers to teach things like excel and graphing with real numbers that can be used to visualize real data and change, instead of random numbers from textbooks that the students don’t connect to. Using electronics we want our rooftop garden to be able to send data, like temperature, precipitation, wind, and moisture directly to a website. Hopefully teachers will be able to access the data and use it to engage their students using real life examples.
The greenSTEM network gets data online through a relatively complicated chain: A Jeenode connects to the sensors and sends data over radio frequency to a raspberry pi, which sends data over wifi to the cloud in a server they created for the purpose. We’re looking into other ways of posting the data that skip the middle step and use a readily available IoT application platform. A few options we’ve come across include:
If you have any favorites we didn’t list here, or other suggestions, please let us know in the comments!