Government building goes green, gold and modular
Wanting to play a leadership role in environmental design, the DEP constructed its new southeast regional headquarters with an array of earth-friendly features. As a result, the building earned Gold certification of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The LEED certification program is based on many factors, such as site selection, construction materials used and operation of the facility in an environmentally responsible manner that protects the health of building occupants, while causing minimal impact to the environment.
To take environmental design one step further, the DEP added a green roof to one section of the facility.
Pennsylvania officials selected a green roof system designed by Weston Solutions Inc. and installed by GreenGrid Green Roofs, based in Vernon Hills, Ill.
Boasting a modular design, the roof on the DEP building includes sedum species arranged randomly to resemble patchwork. Vegetation on the rooftop was allowed to grow out for approximately one year prior to installation to provide full coverage at the time of placement.
Benefits of green roofs
Popular in Europe since the 1970s, green roofs are increasingly being installed on U.S. buildings to improve energy performance and reduce stormwater runoff. According to the company, the roofs can reduce heating costs by up to 25 percent and cooling costs by up to 50 percent, for the floor located directly below the roof.
Other advantages include protecting the exterior roof membrane to resist ultraviolet radiation, extreme temperature fluctuations and puncture or other physical damage.
Said to be a cost-competitive alternative to traditional built-in-place green roofs, the GreenGrid roof consists of a series of recycled-plastic modules that come preplanted with desired vegetation. The modules can be placed directly on a roof or other structure with sufficient structural capacity.
Modules come in various sizes, such as a 4-in. depth that supports grasses, sedums and wildflowers, or an 8-in. depth that supports a variety of larger ornamental plants. A preset palette of plants, developed by the company’s horticulturists, allows customers to select vegetation based on plant hardiness, size and color.
Other applications of GreenGrid modules include plazas, median strips and indoor locations.
For more information about GreenGrid roofs, visit http://www.greengridroofs.com/.