Boston University Urban Laboratory

The Boston University Urban Laboratory uses the department’s home, the Stone Science Building, as a living laboratory for the study of urban building energy, green roof studies, and Boston’s “Urban Metabolism.”

Inside the building, high-precision greenhouse gas analyzers connect to rooftop sensors that measure the ebbs and flows of Boston’s atmospheric carbon dioxide, water vapor, and methane—the ‘breathing’ of the city. These sensors can also be configured to ‘look inward,’ measuring the building’s own metabolism, arising from the metabolism of people and building energy systems. These measurements allow researchers to understand the impact of sustainable energy systems on building and city-wide carbon footprints.

Green roof facilities at Boston University include the Stone Science Greenhouse, a pioneering green roof facility dating to the 1940s, and rooftop ecology studies of plant and insect succession.