Six Green Roofs to Inspire

A Buildings magazine article presents green roofs atop six commercial buildings to inspire verdant roof retrofits. The projects, which come from four different climate zones, demonstrate what can be done, “from relatively hands-off systems with grasses and sedums to elaborate installations with flowers, trees and spaces for building occupants.”

  1. The Katy Medical Plaza in the Houston area features a 15,593-square-foot green roof planted with hardy regional species lined by a pathway that offers serene views and encourages movement and reflection. Plantings are irrigated with water collected from parking lot runoff.
  2. Facebook’s Building 20 at the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters features a nine-acre rooftop park with roughly 360 trees and 110,000 shrubs as well as a half-mile walking loop and a meeting room. Lightweight geofoam was used to sculpt hills and other curved features; the trees and bushes are planted in wells dug into the foam.
  3. Dansko Headquarters in Chester County, Pennsylvania, has three green roofs planted with sedums and succulents, one of which is accessible to employees and features a patio and pergola.
  4. The Cedar Rapids Library building, located only two blocks from a river that is sensitive to runoff, features a 24,000-square-foot green roof that collects stormwater (as well as condensate from cooling equipment) in two 5,000-gallon cisterns. A solar-powered control unit then feeds the water into a subsurface drip irrigation system.
  5. The David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh has 1,200 square feet of planters filled with organic vegetables maintained and harvested by the facility’s food service provider as well as a green roof planted with more than 20 species of plants, flowers and grasses.
  6. The University of Chicago Facilities Services building has a 12,000-square-foot green roof with a planting media depth of only four inches. It is designed to survive without irrigation.

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