GRO — Green Roof Outfitters — Modular Green Roofs

GRO - Green Roof Outfitters - Modular Green Roofs

Article on GRO from the Navy Yard at Noisette

Green Roofs Are Born Here

by Mr Hugh

2009 November 19

They’ve got to come from somewhere, and that place just happens to be here in the Navy Yard at Noisette. Green Roof Outfitters, or G.R.O. is the regions first company designing, growing and installing modular Green Roofs.

First, what is a Green Roof? Put simply, Green Roofs are living additions to roof structures. Their environmental impact is tremendous. They reduce storm water runoff, reduce the “heat island effect,” reduces pollutants & increases oxygen, extends roof life by 2-4 times, lowers energy costs, lowers noise level, creates urban green space and even help reduce our carbon footprint.

They can come in many different varieties, but G.R.O. has found that the plant variety of Sedum Succulents works particularly well in our climate, including both winter and summer. Because they are succulents they require very little water to survive, while retaining significant amounts of what does comes there way. Not to mention, they only initially require fertilizer, and won’t ever need it again, great news for the health of rivers and streams.

G.R.O’s innovative modular system makes installation much quicker and simpler than any other system available. Each module is 4′x4′ and weighs about 80 lbs. fully saturated. An innovative aspect of the modular systems is the addition of small wells within the units, allowing them to store water until the plants need it. The modules are produced here in South Carolina of 100% recycled plastic.

Founders, Mike McKenna & Michael Whitfield

Water collected from nearby roofs to help get seedlings started.

MSU study finds added benefit of green roofs

Planted rooftops can store carbon, researchers say

Haley Walker • Capital News Service • November 9, 2009

Michigan State University researchers found that planting vegetation on roofs can store heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas emitted by burning fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal for transportation, power production and industrial development. High concentrations are linked to global warming.

This study is the first of its kind, said head researcher Kristin Getter. We knew these roofs had benefits, but we didnt know they would be able to store carbon.

Green roofs already are used to control temperatures, improve storm runoff and increase vegetation and wildlife habitat in urban areas. Now Getter, a doctoral student in horticulture, has quantified another environmental benefit.

Examples of green roof projects in Michigan are found in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, according to the Department of Environmental Quality.

And Ford Motor Co.s Truck Assembly Plant in Dearborn was recognized in 2004 by Guinness World Records as the largest green roof in the world.

Researchers found that the plants on green roofs absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.

Their findings were applied to the Detroit metropolitan area, which has between 77 million and 101 million square yards of available rooftop. Planting vegetation on all of it could also mean storing approximately 55,000 tons of carbon, Getter said. That would be the same environmental impact as removing thousands of trucks or SUVs from the road.

A traditional roof is not storing any carbon, but a green roof is a brand-new storehouse, Getter said.

GRO - Green Roof Outfitters - Modular Green Roofs

The carbon study was conducted over two years. Twenty plots of plants were placed on MSUs Plant and Soil Sciences Building. Both the above- and below- ground plant material was harvested every other month during the growing season.

Content measured

The plants were then weighed and their carbon content measured. Approximately 13.3 ounces of carbon per square meter was stored throughout the study.

We were thinking they probably wouldnt store very much, and it isnt a lot compared to a forest or grassland, but it is more than what a traditional roof would have, Getter said.

Results of the study were published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal. Two other parts of the study investigated species-specific plants on green roofs.

The roofs are used on buildings in Chicago, Manhattan, Toronto and Washington, D.C.

Chicagos City Hall is one of the earliest examples of a green roof project in the U.S.

Conserving energy

The biggest benefit in the U.S. is their ability to help conserve energy because the soil acts as extra insulation, Getter said. They also help reduce noise and air pollution.

According to Getter, her study identifies one more function of whats often called a living roof.

We are all concerned about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, she said. This is just another way to help keep carbon dioxide levels lower.

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