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Green Roofs as Sustainable Design Possibilities

Green, or vegetative, roofs are becoming more popular as sustainable design components. These roofs have several advantages over more traditional options. They minimize heat islands, reduce runoff into storm-water drains, provide excellent insulating values, and provide a green space for vegetation in large cities with limited green spaces.

They also can have disadvantages. Maintenance crews require training to inspect and repair them. Reflective walkways need cleaning.

Also, vegetation requires watering and care. In some cases, a landscape contractor — who now must be trained in fall protection to work on the roof — can be a better option for this task.

To make inspections easier, managers should consider specifying a tray system. Consider the Boston Children's Museum, which has more than 6,400 square feet of green roof made up of trays that workers can remove easily when inspecting and maintaining the roof.

If a green roof is an appropriate choice for a project, it might be best to buy an extended warranty from the company that installs it to ensure vegetation grows properly. This tactic also will provide more incentive for providing a quality installation.


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