Matt Ceplo, CGCS, has a reputation for being an environmental steward, something not common in the golf industry. The 19-year turf veteran at Rockland Country Club in Sparkill, N.Y., not only “talks the talk,” but “walks the walk” as a member of GCSAA’s environmental committee. His list of environmental accomplishments is impressive.
In 2011, Ceplo received the Global Sports Alliance’s New York Environmental Steward Award. In 2012, he received the Metropolitan (New York) Golf Association’s Arthur P. Weber Environmental Steward Award. In 2013, he received the prestigious GCSAA President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship. Throughout his years at Rockland, Ceplo has promoted golf’s environmental benefits not only to his members and board, but to his community, county and state.
How has he done this? Ceplo says it all started with getting Rockland Country Club Audubon Certified. Here’s a short list of his environmental activities
- President of the Tri-State Research Foundation
- Member Audubon International Board of Directors
- Chairman of the Rockland Water Quality Committee
- Formed a Rockland Water Wise Committee
- Member of the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance
- Established Rockland Country Club as a Monarch Way Station and a Designated Operation Pollinator Golf Course
- Runs an annual fishing derby to showcase Rockland’s irrigation pond and sponsors local environmental activities with girl and boy scouts.
- Joined the North American Butterfly Association and posts bi-weekly counts to NABA’s website.
So why is environmentalism in an irrigation column? Ceplo recently oversaw the installation of a water efficient 18-hole irrigation system at Rockland, including a new pump station. The pump station installation required replacing the existing wet well for the turbine pumps into the existing renovated pump house. To install the new wet well and pumps in the existing building, that pump house had to be expanded and remodeled. Due to permitting issues, the old facility could not be demolished because a minimum of two walls from the original building needed to be maintained. This restriction limited the location and look of the new pump house. The remodel work called for replacing the slightly sloped roof on the existing pump house with a flat roof.
Ceplo saw the project as a “green” opportunity. Rockland’s pump house is visible from the clubhouse’s main dining room, which accounted for the desire to move the wet well and pumps inside. Because the building is so visible from the clubhouse, Ceplo’s goal was to make the pump house more aesthetically pleasing. Ceplo suggested to his board that the pump house have a green roof. And even though it was more expensive, a green roof made the building more attractive from not only the clubhouse, but from other areas of the course, as well.
Weight is an issue with any green roof, so the roof trusses were designed to deal with the added weight. The roof was a typical green roof system with a layered soil profile. The top soil layer of the 760-square-foot roof consists of a green roof planting soil mix that includes volcanic ash and organic compost to reduce weight. The green roof is planted with an Ernst Seed showy Northeast native wildflower and grass mix. Roof drains are utilized to remove any excess moisture.
The green roof has several advantages: there is, of course, the aesthetic value, oxygen production, and reduced cooling and heating requirements for the pump house.
I’ve heard of courses that have green roofs on their maintenance buildings, but not pump houses that have green roofs installed above ground. Most golf courses would not incur the additional expense to install the green roof. Given Ceplo’s track record, he convinced the board that the extra expense of the green roof was worth it. Just another example of his environmentalism, which adds to his reputation.
Brian Vinchesi, the 2009 EPA WaterSense Irrigation Partner of the Year, is president of Irrigation Consulting Inc., a golf course irrigation design and consulting firm headquartered in Pepperell, Mass., that designs irrigation systems throughout the world. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978/433-8972.