From NC Cooperative Extension:
Location and History
Kurdistan is a region of 3 provinces in Northern Iraq; an area that is considered to be the Cradle of Civilization and home to some of the world’s oldest established cities. This area is more stable than the Southern regions and tends to hold a degree of autonomy.
Currently, the summer outdoor temperature can reach over 110F with indoor temperatures remaining at or above 90F with existing cooling systems. The goal of this project is to find a way to grow sod on the roofs of homes to help reduce temperatures by 15-20 degrees. Area Extension Agent, Cliff Ruth is working to help cool the homes for the residents of this area by teaching turf managers to become Certified Turf Professional.
Cliff Ruth was approached by David and Linda Bradley to help some of their employees for their international company to become Certified Turfgrass Professionals. David is the CEO of Mountain Evergreen, a newly established sod farm and turf operation in Erbil, Kurdistan. The city of Erbil requires certification to be employed as a business. There is no certification in place for the turf industry in Erbil. This made it a necessity to turn to North Carolina for certification. The American employees are full-time English teachers to business professionals in the capital city of Erbil.
Within the next 2-3 years the prototype applications of sod on top of homes can be done to demonstrate the ability of turf to cool the interior of the homes. Currently, research is underway for the structural integrity of homes to determine load bearing capacities of the roof tops and sourcing of light weight green roof substrates (soil substitutes) that will support the sod. The project will be on going with the ultimate development of a certification program for local people in their language.