A green roof has just been installed on a building owned by the Atlantic County Utilities Authority. The ACUA’s green roof is the first in the area and will serve as a demonstration project, allowing interested parties to get a close up look at this green alternative to a traditional roof.
This project was made possible by generous donations of materials and labor. Plant Connection grew and donated the plants and growing medium. The growing system, designed and manufactured by Metro Green Visions and distributed by Plant Connection, was also donated. Steven Dubner Landscaping volunteered the labor for the installation.
The roof size is 2,900 square feet and would have cost the ACUA approximately $72,500 to install. The installation began on Tuesday, August 31st and was completed the following day, September 1, 2010. The site, at 1701 Absecon Blvd., sits at the entrance to the ACUA’s wastewater facility in Atlantic City, NJ.
A green roof is a cover of vegetation which is installed on top of a roof. The plants used for a green roof vary from groundcover, to turf grass, shrubs, trees and even vegetable crops. The type of climate, structural capacity of the roof and aesthetic preference determine which type of vegetation is used.
The vegetation selected for ACUA’s roof is a variety of sedum, a hardy ground cover which is drought tolerant and grows to a height of 6-7 inches. Some vegetable plants have been added to ACUA’s roof to show the variety of plant types that can be used.
Green roofs can provide a natural refuge for wildlife, insulate the building and reduce heating and cooling costs. In cities, green roofs reduce the “urban heat island effect,” replacing dark, heat absorbent surfaces with plants that clean the air and keep rooftop temperatures down in the summer, while absorbing and filtering stormwater.
Sitting on top of the existing roof, the layers of the green roof include a membrane which provides insulation and protection, a drainage layer, a filter mat, and a soil layer, topped by the vegetation.
Green roofs protect the existing roof from UV light and inclement weather and can extend the life of the roof. ACUA’s roof will be very low maintenance and should not require anything in addition to standard roof and drain maintenance.