Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2011 - (Page 35)

ON SPEC WIDENING THE NET WHEN IT COMES TO STORMWATER MITIGATION, NOTHING BEATS THE GREEN ROOF. WHY THEN, ARE SO MANY OF OUR PROFESSIONAL PEERS RESISTING? By Richard C. Hayden I t is an exciting time to be in the green roof industry, with green roofs springing up in places never before imagined. From hospitals to bus shelters to city halls and sports stadiums, green roofs are becoming integral in the overall design of a building. They are also being “multi-tasked” more than ever in order to leverage costs through the delivery of multiple benefits to build a better business case. We must continue to encourage multiple green roof uses to support this thriving industry and create a more sustainable built environment. One major green roof benefit is improved stormwater management with green roofs being enlisted to help with some very serious problems. Flooding in many areas of the U.S. has long been exacerbated by increasing amounts of paved, impervious surfaces including parking lots, streets and rooftops. Fortunately, thanks to the hard work of many industry organizations and experts, green roofs are now recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of several best management practices (BMPs) for handling stormwater onsite. The green roof’s ability to mimic natural hydrology, and to delay and eliminate portions of the stormwater volume makes it a very valuable tool in developing a comprehensive stormwater management site plan. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yes, and no. Unfortunately, I believe the effectiveness of green roofs as a BMP technique is not as widely known as it should be. In developing stormwater management plans, most civil engineers, architects and even landscape architects reach for the known and comfortable solutions to handling stormwater issues instead of exploring all the available options. The ability to store water on roofs is similar to the same techniques that are used in storing water underground. Our engineering and design colleagues need to be able to add green roofs to the “toolkit” they have at their disposal when developing stormwater management plans for their sites. Cities like Philadelphia, Washington, and Portland, Oregon have begun to lead the way by integrating green roofs into their regulatory and infrastructure investment policies. Our challenge, as an industry, is to inform professionals working on stormwater management plans that green roofs have multi-level, leveraged and cost-effective benefits to their projects. Access to more education and information is critical, in my opinion. Given this challenge, I believe we must also continue to: • Articulate and carry the multiple green-roof benefits message to our engineering and design colleagues in order to expand green roofs into the stormwater management realm. • Press our legislative bodies – federal, state, local – to continue to include green roofs as a vital component in stormwater regulations. • Collaborate with researchers, universities and growers to expand our plant material palettes to address the challenging environments our industry encounters. Expand our industry’s presence at the University level to begin the education of our new engineers and designers in the benefits of including green roofs as a vital part of any stormwater management plan. • Show our clients that they can address stormwater issues and improve aesthetic and quality of life benefits, habitat and energy savings as well as prolonging the life of one of the most valuable components of the building: the roof. I believe we will be left on the sidelines if we do not pay attention and participate in the global regulatory and political changes that are taking place. We must be cognizant of the regulatory processes that occur behind the scenes at every level of government and continue to be a part of this process. The EPA has officially recognized the benefits our industry can bring to bear on stormwater issues. Our green roofs are, and continue to be, a valuable asset in dealing with stormwater problems in this country. Let’s not miss this growing opportunity! D Richard C. Hayden, RLA , ASLA, CLARB is the garden roof department manager at American Hydrotech, Inc. based in Chicago, Illinois. LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR FALL 2011 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2011

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2011
From the Founder
On the Roof With…
Policy: The Game Changer
Policy: Toronto’s Green Roof by-Law
Policy: Energy Code Break-Through
GRHC: Update
GRHC: Welcome New Members
On Spec

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2011