Basic container design green roof r one studio architecture

Basic container design green roof r one studio architecture

basic container design green roof

2011/06/10 9:00 am

I suppose we might want to start off this post asking the question what is a green roof?  Is it a roof that is painted green?  It could be, but not as it applies to our discussion.  When we say green roof what we are really referring to is a roof that has greenery on it, i.e. planting soil and grass of some variety.  This isnt exactly a new technology either.  Man has been roofing with natural materials for centuries.  But obviously were stuck in this whole the world is going to explode tomorrow unless we build everything sustainable and green mentality that its become a hot topic and hits all the right political pressure points.  But before we get in to the nitty gritty of green roofing, lets first discuss some benefits of using this technology.

First, it aids in reducing the heat island effect that buildings, especially in urban areas, are prone to create, which is what happens when you have a material that absorbs and stores the suns energy during the day and releases it at night rising the local ambient temperature above normal levels.

Second, a green roof acts as a natural insulator to reduce your need for hvac (heating ventilating and air conditioning).  Have you ever dug a big hole and felt the ground with your hand a few feet down?  Its much cooler to the touch because the soil above it keeps it insulated.  Its like living in perpetual shade.

Lastly, it just looks really cool.really. -)

So, what makes up a green roof?  What are the typical components and how do we adapt this for basic container design?  First you have to have a suitable load bearing structure to place your growing medium onto.  This can be many things timber framing, steel joists, reinforced concrete, or any other typical roof framing methods.  Next you need a suitable waterproof membrane to keep moisture away from your structural supports.  Then there is a air and water drainage layer.  Why is this important?  Air needs to breath and circulate water just like we do.  If the soil doesnt get any air movement, or if there isnt a way for water to move in and out of the soil, it can rot and break down and eventually become unsuitable for growth.  This would be bad.

Now, on top of this air and water drainage layer we can put our top soil.  What type of topsoil you use will depend on what you are attempting to grow.  This can be almost anything, within reason typical grasses, or small shrub plants, or even succulents.  In order to minimize the need for watering and maintenance youll want to plant something that is indigenous to your specific geographic location.

Basic container design green roof r one studio architecture

Once youve added your top soil, obviously its time to plant.  Just like any lawn, you can either plant from seed or use plugs or lay sod.  Its up to you and your budget/time schedule.  Below are some eye candy examples of green roofs used all over the world in different climates.

typical pitched roof with native grasses

Implementing a green roof atop a shipping container is really no different.  Ive talked often about a shipping container being cost effective because youre purchasing your structural envelope already assembled.  This isnt quite true when talking about a green roof.  Unfortunately the roof structure of a shipping container is not quite strong enough to support the layers of membrane, drainage, dirt and greenery that we need without buckling.  So we need to reinforce it.  The easiest way to do this is with reinforced concrete.  This way we can create either a flat or sloped surface much thinner than with lumber and sheathing or steel and decking.  Once we have our roof structure, we simply layer on the items mentioned above and WHAM-O. green roof on a container. -)

green roof atop container home office

In the image above you can see that the green roof is built up atop the container.  It has its own structure separate from the container.

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