Lessons Learned from Green Roof Process at Michigan Hospital
While the roof's performance has lived up to expectations, Van Rees says the planning and design process would have benefitted from greater input from his department.
"It would be good to get maintenance more involved during the process just so they have a better understanding of all the components that are going into it," he says. "Probably just the up-front design during the schematic design or the design development — having someone present just to understand all the systems and know what it's going to take to take care of it because we didn't know. We didn't know we had to weed until we had a bunch of weeds up there."
Van Rees also advises managers whose organizations are considering installing vegetative roof on a facility to ensure the planning process for the project takes into account the need for rooftop fall-protection equipment that is also is in compliance with
mandates from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
"The only thing I think got missed was fall protection, so we have to be very careful when we let someone up on the roof," he says. "We do all the right things for fall protection, but it's nice to have hooks added to the roof because we do have people up there."
Finally, Van Rees advises managers to carefully consider potential challenges of adding rooftop HVAC equipment once a vegetative roof is in place.
"One thing that's difficult is when you add any equipment," Van Rees says. "We had to add an exhaust fan on the roof, so we had to strategically place the exhaust fan close to a roof drain because it had gravel around it.
"We were able to remove the gravel and penetrate the roof that way, and that worked out okay. It was a little more challenging (than on a more traditional roof). We just had to think through the process a
"If we had to go through the green roof" to install the unit, he says, "we would have just taken out a section of it and pulled it up and cut into the roof, installed the unit, and reinstalled the vegetation."