Green Roofs Growing in US


Green Roof on Canada's MEC building. Photo via Flickr: by Pardraic
Green roofs have expanded by 35 percent over the last couple years, with more than 3.1 million square feet installed last year. Chicago leads the way in the U.S. with 534,507 square feet worth. That doesn't seem like a lot considering green roofs are about to be law in Toronto, but it all starts adding up. Washington, D.C. comes in a close second with just over half-million square feet and New York follows with 359,000-square-feet of green roofing. So where's your pea patch?

Photo via flicker by pnwra

This week, the 7th Annual International Greening Rooftops Conference happens, June 3-5, in Atlanta, Georgia. Besides presentations by green roofers and a trade show with exhibitors' products, there will be training in design, installation, waterproofing, drainage, and measuring performance. Tests for its Green Roof Professional (GRP) Accreditations will also be held.

The conference theme, "Pushing the Envelope," seeks new approaches to green roofs and green walls with designs that include food production, cutting energy usage further, and cooling the heat index. Though green roofs/walls offer an urban oasis for relaxation in cities, the point is the environmental benefit. Says Steven W. Peck, founder/president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities:

The green roof industry continues to grow rapidly in response to the pressing need for cleaner air, better stormwater management, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and developing more usable green spaces in communities.


Here are some highlights on the green roof tours during the Atlanta conference:
• Northpark400/500, a commercial/office park called 'the building with trees growing on the sides," has landscaped garden roofs in a municipal park with a stormwater treatment and constructed wetlands, sand and bio-filtration ponds, and Greenroof Pavilion/Greenroof Trial Gardens
• Saul Nurseries specializes in plants for green roofs and green walls with a test green roof
• Emory University's several green roofs include the 1,800 square-foot Foundation Learning Center
• The 3,000 square-foot patio outside Atlanta City Hall's fifth floor cafeteria is home to the first city-owned green roof in the Southeast
• The Southface Eco Office's Energy Institute is LEED Platinum-certified
• LEED Gold-certified Gwinnett County Environmental & Heritage Center in a 233-acre park is partly an energy institute with an oxygen-producing vegetative roof

Yet Atlanta doesn't rate among the top ten greenest roofed cities such as New York, Vancouver, B.C, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Montreal, and even Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Some other sites include:
3,000-square-foot garden atop LA's The Flat apartments in downtown LA provides food for the Blue Velvet restaurant
• A homeless shelter gets veggies from a rooftop garden on the U of Georgia's geography building tending by students
• Wild Project Theater's mix of native wildflowers and groundcovers in New York City at a 1,500-square-feet space, plus a deck of solar panels
• In Minneapolis, the Target Center spent $5.3 million to install an environmentally-friendly roof

It's not too late to start your green roof this summer and contribute to upping the stats.

More on Green Roofs:
Toronto Makes Green Roofs the Law
Raising the (Green) Roof!!
Plan Your Vacation with Green Roof Safari
Are Green Roofs the New Mirrored Glass?
Green Roof Mashup: Golf Course, Filtration Plant, Park and Prison

Tags: Environmental Certifications | Gardening | Green Roofs | Urban Life

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