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Green roofs are as futuristic as the gardens and oases that used to be spread over hot, shiny buildings.

Investing In Green Roofs: Energy Efficiency And Urban Sustainability In Boston

Investing In Green Roofs: Energy Efficiency And Urban Sustainability In Boston

A federal agency, such as the US General Services Administration, can act as an innovator in this scenario. But if you had to guess, would you say the federal agency that manages and leases more than 8,600 buildings nationwide has had a green roof for 20 years? 30?

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1970 Although green roofs proliferated after the first Earth Day celebration in April 1970, re-imagine how many were planted on agency rooftops: the first green roof was installed in 1932 on the roof of the IRS building in Washington, DC.

Today, there are more than 80 buildings equipped with green roofs covering an area of ​​approximately 2.2 million square meters. That’s about 50 acres, or 48 football fields, including the second largest planted roof in the United States and the third largest in the world: the US Coast Guard Center (USCGH) in Washington (pictured above).

“Any time I’ve spoken in public or talked to people about business, people have come up to me and said, ‘I didn’t know. I’m proud to know that our tax dollars are being invested like this,” says Lance Davis, an architect of 18 years. “I think the story is really powerful.”

Built in 2013, the USCGH Green Roof was designed to blend in with the surrounding greenery or mountain landscape that forms the slope of the ‘green cup’. The design gives residents the opportunity to enjoy views of the Potomac River in downtown Washington, D.C., from the building’s various courtyards. “

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Green roofs reduce stormwater runoff that pollutes local waterways; reduce energy consumption and costs in buildings; and reducing urban heat islands, or pockets of concrete and asphalt that absorb the sun’s heat and radiation. They can support solar panels that produce more efficient energy when cooled by a green roof ecosystem.

In fact, according to cost analysis, most of the costs of green roofs are related to installation and maintenance. In particular, it is expected to last twice as long as conventional roofs.

The green roof studied achieved a 224% return on investment with nearly six years of life, stormwater and energy savings.

Investing In Green Roofs: Energy Efficiency And Urban Sustainability In Boston

“It’s unbelievable as a square footage owner,” Davis said of the size of the green roof’s footprint. I don’t know if we can confirm it, but I think it’s the largest planted roofer in the world. It’s not surprising,” he said.

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To keep track, Davis and colleagues created the Green Roof Tracker, which lists every federal building that has been operated or had a green roof installed since 1932.

For engineers considering a green roof, they created the Sustainable Buildings Tool ( to help map the benefits of a planted roof and the engineering considerations to consider.

As the site says, installed roofs — also known as vegetated roofs or eco-roofs — use plants as a technology to bring the natural cooling, water-purifying and air-filtering properties of plant landscapes to urban environments.

Planted roofs are not all seaweed and papaya. Complex ecosystems that are expertly designed and engineered. Details matter. Gardeners will understand that guidelines from engineers considering a green roof include horticultural zones that indicate which plant species are appropriate for the building’s location. Green roof plants in the southern United States will be different from green roof plants in the northeastern United States.

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According to, which provides charts, graphs and architectural calculations for lighting, HVAC, water, solid waste, human behavior studies, green roofs are based on vegetation, soil and a waterproof membrane on top of a conventional roof. . more.

According to the SFTool site: “Extensively planted canopies consist of small succulents, while intensively planted canopies have a diversity of plants, including native plants, shrubs or trees.”

Learned more about how to build a successful green roof. He also looked into the use of cells.

Investing In Green Roofs: Energy Efficiency And Urban Sustainability In Boston

“The survey showed that more people are going in and out of the conference rooms and meeting rooms,” he said. “They used to go outside and have their meetings on the roof. Therefore, if it is designed appropriately, it can become a useful site for the building.”

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“The latest thing that’s happened is we have new non-paying tenants on our roof,” he said.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to build rooftop living, especially as we look at net zero energy water and waste, which is one of the agency’s priorities,” Davis said.

Davis said business owners have inquired about renting their rooftops for business owners. There are a lot of logistics to work out, but “it could be an interesting design opportunity,” he says. “Roofs for growing vegetables.”

Green roofs can be as convenient as a coffee shop or an accessible gym for employees who report to a uniformed building.

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“It’s becoming one of the things that employees expect, and certainly there are a lot of planted rooftops in the D.C., Chicago and Boston areas,” Davis said. “It’s one of those conveniences that people really want.”

Davis says he’s excited about the potential of planted roofs and how they can benefit the mission of the building and its tenants. With more buildings lined up or under renovation, the agency will strive to provide the best customer experience even on the rooftop.

Want to know more about what we’re doing to fight climate change? Read Dayer’s latest sustainability development “snapshot”.

Investing In Green Roofs: Energy Efficiency And Urban Sustainability In Boston

Travelers’ compensation is based on employment rather than employment, and if accommodation is not available during work, the agency may authorize accommodation rates.

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“the corporate limits of the principal city, including all independent entities located within those limits.”

“The corporate boundaries of the capital city, the boundaries of listed districts, all areas (unless otherwise specified) including independent entities located within the capital city and listed districts.”

When a military installation or government-related facility (not specifically designated) is partially located within the boundaries of more than one city or county, the daily applicable rates for the entire installation or facility are higher than those applicable to cities. and/or districts, even if a portion of such activities may be located outside the designated area on a daily basis. Compare two sunroofs in Sydney, one under panels or the other decorated with native grasses and plants. found that green roof panels were on average 3.63% more efficient and produced 13% more daily average product than conventional roofs. The improvements were attributed to the lower temperature of the green roof with the help of plants, which provided additional benefits.

The roof of Daramu House in Barangaroo, Sydney’s inner city, is covered with native grasses and plants. This rooftop garden was completed by Junglefy in September 2019.

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The roofs of two adjacent office buildings in Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct gave researchers a rare look at the effect of green roofs on solar radiation. The findings are significant—compared to a conventional roof, the average daily output of solar arrays placed on plant beds was 39 kW or 13.1% higher.

The research, led by Peter Irga from the University of Technology Sydney and funded by the City of Sydney Council, carried out research on the conventional array of the International House and the green roof array of Daramu House, known as a bisolar roof.

Both roofs produced significant solar energy over the eight months studied, with the conventional roof producing 59.5 MW and the green roof 69 MW.

Investing In Green Roofs: Energy Efficiency And Urban Sustainability In Boston

“Despite similarities in structure and layout, the effect of urban geometry on solar roof solar radiation occurs outside of peak/near solar days… During these hours, the green roof produced an average energy product of ~6% more than the conventional roof. “The effect of urban geometry before and after these hours confounds the reported efficiency (-3.6-16%).”

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After adjusting for these differences, green roof panels were found to be 3.63% more efficient on average per day. After that, during the eight-month study period, the green roof produced an additional 9.5 MW of green electricity, at a retail price of $2,595.

This is intended to increase efficiency

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