Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Winter 2020 - 5

Modular green roof on GSA's Jamie L. Whitten Building,
Washington. Source Benefits and Challenges of Green
Roofs on Public and Commerical Buildings, GSA.

GSA National Capital Region - United States Depar tment of Agriculture Jamie L. Whitten Building, Washington
A 3,700 square foot modular, extensive and accessible (via pedestrian path) green roof installed on this historic building that projects into the National M

KW: An accessible/visible green roof offers significant amenity value, and a wellinstalled green roof protects the asset, generally doubling the life of the waterproof
membrane. Plus we know that green buildings are more valuable, based on studies of
LEED certified buildings outperforming their peers in the marketplace. In the studies
where we've estimated a very conservative improvement in cap rate from these factors,
the real estate value impact alone generated a rapid return on the green roof investment. It would be really interesting given the number of green roofs built in recent
years to see if we can confirm those estimates through a survey of how those buildings
compare to their peers in value.
SWP: From a public sector perspective, how does supportive green roof policy generate cost savings
or event tax revenue for a local or regional government?
KW: As we've been discussing, a private owner can achieve good ROI for a green roof
under several circumstances considering only their own costs and benefits. However,
many of the benefits generated by green roofs really accrue to the community more
broadly or to the environment. For example, a green roof that is visible to a neighboring
building can generate wellbeing, productivity and real estate value for the neighboring owner/tenant. The cooler microclimate it provides in summer helps reduce heat
island effect for the neighborhood. The stormwater it attenuates and habitat it provides
benefits the whole watershed. The carbon it sequesters has global value. Wrapped up together, these city-wide benefits provide an excellent return on investment compared with
the cost of green roofs. This suggests that governmental and charitable funds provided to
incentivize green roof construction are well-spent toward the public good, and will also
LIVINGARCHITECTUREMONITOR.COM

tend to generate further economic benefits
as property values (and thus tax revenues)
rise and green jobs are generated.
SWP: Which policies appear to be the most effective at developing a local green roof industry
and what kind of green job impact can one
expect?
KW: I haven't studied this topic at length,
but anything that grows demand for green
roofs will grow the industry and create
jobs. Many cities consider incentives and/
or mandates for green roofs, or they
incentivize/mandate things like stormwater
management that can be achieved with
either a green roof or other systems like
rainwater harvesting. I think that ultimately
a green roof mandate will tend to create the
most rapid and sustained growth in green
roof jobs. However, I think it is a great idea
for cities that don't have many green roof
installers to start with an incentive program
coupled with training and design/installa-

LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR / WINTER 2020 / 5


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Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Winter 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Winter 2020

Table of Contents
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Winter 2020 - IP
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Winter 2020 - Cover1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Winter 2020 - Cover2
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Winter 2020 - Table of Contents
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Winter 2020 - AD1
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