Daily Commercial News — Green Roofs for Healthy Cities plants seeds for professional accreditation

Daily Commercial News - Green Roofs for Healthy Cities plants seeds for professional accreditation

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities plans to launch an accreditation program for people who wish to advertise themselves as green roof professionals. Currently, anyone can claim to have expertise in green roof design and construction.

Green Building

Currently, anyone can claim to be a green roof professional

TORONTO

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities plans to launch an accreditation program for people who wish to advertise themselves as green roof professionals.

Steven Peck, founder and president of the group, says the program should be in place by the spring of 2009.

If you go through that program, youll have the knowledge necessary to squeeze the greatest possible value for your client at the lowest possible cost, he said.

Youll also know what the best practices are and how to avoid mistakes in design and installation so you can assure quality.

Currently anyone can call themselves a green roof expert and the customer has no way of knowing whether the claim is genuine or not.

People are looking for something that tells them that this individual has a certain degree of knowledge.

The trade association brought in 20 North American experts in the various trades associated with green roofs and hammered out what knowledge and skill-sets are required for someone to call themselves an accredited green roof professional, explained Peck.

Under consideration were key points from a structural loading point of view: waterproofing; best practices for installation and quality management.

The accreditation program will ensure green roof professionals have knowledge of all the fields involved, with perhaps a specialty in one or more areas.

The impetus for the program came primarily from the industry itself, Peck said, and from its clients.

Before a candidate can write the accreditation exam, they will have to complete four one-day courses the association offers on green roofs.

The association has come a long way from its origins in 1999, when it was not much more than a concept shared by a group of six companies.

From there it has evolved into a non-profit industry association with more than 75 corporate members. There are now over 4,000 individual members across North America, including architects and landscape architects, engineers, horticulturalists, roofing contractors, landscape contractors, developers, planners and building officials.

There has been close co-operation with the Canadian Roofing Contractors Association and the National Roofing Contractors Association in the United States, resulting in a new course on roofing and drainage with green roofs as its central focus.

Daily Commercial News - Green Roofs for Healthy Cities plants seeds for professional accreditation

In spite of the organizations growth, it has been a race to keep up with the acceptance of green roofs by both industry and the public.

A continent-wide survey of the industry showed more than three million square feet of green roofs installed in 2006, an increase of slightly more than 25 per cent from a year earlier.

The biggest increase was in intensive green roof, where the growth rate was 110 per cent.

Designers divide green roofs into two types. Extensive green roofs typically include less than six inches of growing medium and usually are planted with ground-cover plants like members of the sedum family.

Intensive green roofs include much more growing mediumsometimes several feetand can include a much broader range of plants, including trees and shrubs that create a garden-like setting that is often open to the buildings occupants.

Despite the growth rate, Peck said the initial cost of a green roof can be a fairly significant barrier especially on retrofits, where the benefits are consigned to such things as storm-water management and improved energy efficiency.

But its less of a barrier when you get a broader range of benefits, like human use and enjoyment, horticultural therapy, improved employee productivity, membrane durability, he said.

So the extent to which it is a barrier depends on the type of roof and the type of building, but since each roof is a different installation, there is no way of nailing down a comparative cost.

There are simply too many options.

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