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by Journal Of Commerce

There’s a nice little boom occurring up on the roof.
Green roofs


There’s a nice little boom occurring up on the roof.

Green roofs, which seem finally to have caught on in North America, are growing in popularity as building owners discover that they have economic, as well as environmental, advantages.

Steven Peck, who founded Green Roofs for Healthy Cities several years ago, says a survey of his group’s corporate members shows 2.5 million square feet of green roof installed in 2005. That’s an increase of more than 80 per cent over 2004. And, Peck wouldn’t be surprised to see triple-digit growth for 2006.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is an organization with several parts: one part trade association, one part educational and one part promotional. Part of it is publication of the Green Roof Infrastructure Monitor, and Peck made his comments in an article in the current issue of that magazine.

The group draws members from all over North America, but its roots are in the high proportion of Canadian members. But since most of the continent’s major manufacturers and suppliers of green roofing systems and materials are members, the survey should be a pretty accurate measure of the growth in green roofs.

Of course, 2.5 million square feet is a lot of roofing, but, it’s just a drop in a continent-sized bucket. But growth has been rapid, and there is some catching-up to do.

Green roofs caught on in Western Europe — especially Germany — well before North Americans embraced the idea. That’s why Germany still has the only accepted standards for green roof construction. In North America, we’re still working on a set of standards, and ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) has released five individual standards.

The methods described in those standards establish a common basis for comparing the fundamental properties of green roofs, such as maximum weight and moisture-retention potential.

The object is to be able to measure critical material properties for green roof materials under conditions similar to those encountered in the field.

There are more standards to come, of course, but you can find those already published on the ASTM website at www.astm.org

In the meantime, you can buy a copy of the German standards, which are serving as a handy starting point for ASTM’s work. They are already widely accepted and, as far as I’ve been able to determine, all the proprietary systems and materials being marketed in North America meet those German standards.

They were developed by an outfit whose name translates into the Landscaping and Landscape Development Research Society. The German acronym is FFL. The group’s website is mostly in German, but you can ask about the FFL standards by e-mailing them at info@fll.de

The only other source I’ve found for them is Roofscapes, Inc., a Philadelphia company that sells them for $70 (U.S.). Make sure they give you the 2002 edition, the latest available.

If you’re still not sure about what’s involved in green roofs, there are other sources of information. One, of course, is Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, and its excellent website is at www.greenroofs.net

The British Columbia Institute of Technology has a School of Construction and the Environment, and within that school, there is the Centre for the Advancement of Green Roof Technology. The institute has a good website which includes, among many other things, a concise presentation on green roofs. You could do worse than making that presentation your starting point. It can be downloaded as a PDF from www.greenroof.bcit.ca

And, although it is a commercial site, Roofscapes’ website, besides being a place to buy the German standards, is a gold mine of general information on the topic, some of it in the form of brief case studies of projects all over the continent. You can see it at www.roofmeadow.com

Korky Koroluk is an Ottawa-based freelance writer. Send comments to editor@dailycommercialnews.com

One comment

  • # 1

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