The University of New Brunswick's science and forestry library is unique on the Fredericton campus.
It's mostly underground.
Up until last year the roof of the library, as well as the adjoining common areas, classrooms and cafeteria, were covered in grass. The skylight in the facility was nestled into a lawn and common area where students could relax between classes.
But then that lawn started to leak, and it became clear that unique roof needed to be replaced.
"This project was identified as a priority because of the leaks, especially over a library," said Craig Hickey, the director of projects with capital planning and operations at the university.
"Water and books do not play well together."
This past summer the roof was ripped up and replaced. The eye-level skylight still exists, but the lawn is gone. And in its place the university has installed seven rows of solar panels.
WATCH | The unique science library roof that's also a 50-kilowatt structure:
"The solar panels have the ability to produce about 50 kilowatts of electricity," said Hickey.
"There is approximately 170-180 individual solar panels all tied together producing power when the sun shines, and we feed that power into a building to help to offset the amount of power we have to bring in from the utility."
Hickey says the solar panels won't reduce emissions from UNB's central heating plant, but they are a factor in the university's goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.
"We're offsetting electrical generation, so we do not generate electricity here yet," said Hickey. "We are looking at a future project that may come along that we do able to do some co-generation, but right now we're just looking to offset electricity that we purchased from N.B. power."
While the lawn didn't return with the new roof, the areas that don't have solar panels are now covered in sedums, thousands of flowering plants that will change colour throughout the year.
The sedums are planted in series of trays that, along with making irrigation easier, coupled with a few extra layers of waterproof membrane should combat leaks in the future.
"I we think we've built a showpiece here," said Hickey.