Green Is Coming Out on Top

Stromberg, Meghan
July 2005
Planning;Jul2005, Vol. 71 Issue 7, p22
Trade Publication
This article focuses on the increasing popularity of green roofs in the U.S. Green roofs, also called living roofs, eco-roofs, or vegetated roofs, are not the stuff of some make-believe world. In fact, green roofs are becoming a sustainable alternative for buildings because they offer a number of environmental and economic benefits, both to building owners and the larger community. Although hardly commonplace here--Germany and other European nations are far ahead in the development of technologies and products--living roofs have nevertheless gained purchase in the U.S. Chicago boasts 120 green roof projects--either finished or in various stages of development--amounting to almost two million square feet of vegetated roof. A green roof system consists of several layers applied to the basic roof deck: a special waterproof membrane, another membrane that prohibits root penetration, a drainage system, filter, planting medium, and plants. Special structural considerations need to be taken into account since the planting medium, plants, and detained water add weight. All roofs require a waterproof membrane, but a green roof must also be able to withstand exposure to saturated soil until it drains.


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