Sunday, February 22, 2009

Green Roofs for the Urban Environment

"Green roofs are built in America just because they are green roofs, without knowing why they are being built," says Charlie Miller, President and Founder, Roofscapes Inc.

On February 9th, Miller was invited to Duke to talk about the current research and industry trends in sustainable green roofs as part of the Smart Talk Series.

Roofscapes Inc. is widely recognized in North America as a technical expert in the green roofs field. The sustainable green roofs in the Smart Home at Duke University were installed by the firm.

According to Miller, Roofscapes Inc. focuses on green roofs as their main business, even though bigger landscaping firms may just consider it a minor part of their project. Green roofs require an enormous amount of consideration for significant factors like natural habitats, vegetation, water drainage and soil permittivity, etc.

"Product marketing of green roofs is primarily based on story-telling as opposed to extensive research", Miller said. "This results in poorer green roofs with lower water retention capacity and less sustainability."

For an optimal green roof design, it is essential to select the best methods and materials to promote plant health, engineering performance and maintenance efficiency, he says.

Roofscapes' research focuses on these components, as well as taking into account other important factors like runoff management, asset production, habitat creation, and water and energy conservation through minimum wastage and maximum utilization. Miller highlights that, contrary to popular belief, transmissivity of the drainage layer is not something that can be ignored , but instead is the single most important factor that needs to be taken into account for green roof construction.

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