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Town has its first 'Green' roof and it's not library


Collingwood has its first building with a green roof and it's not the new public library.

Greenland Consulting installed a small green roof last week.

A green roof involves establishing what amounts to a small ecosystem by adapting a building to carry earth and water, the installers said.

The new public library is slated to have a full-size version installed. The benefits range from lowering heating and cooling costs to aesthetic values, Jennifer Serviss of Bioroof said.

The company is based in Milton "The three major benefits are

storm-water retention, so that after heavy rainfalls it's not all going into our sewer systems, heating and cooling, and irrigation using grey water, which is all recycled water.," she said. "Then there's aesthetics.

"Someone working in an office will be a lot happier looking at a green roof than they would be looking at a black tar roof."

Greenland was installing a miniature version on a canopy, rather than the main roof itself, so it will see no heating/cooling benefits, Serviss said.

"They're getting a drainage board that carries about 14 litres of water and four inches of bio-mixed soil, which is composted and highly able to retain soil," she said. "We're putting erosion netting down so that the soil doesn't blow around and the plants don't move."

The plants in question were periwinkle, a form of quick-spreading ground cover, Serviss said.

"The only disadvantage to a green roof right now is cost," she added. "It's a bit of a hard sell when you're asking clients to double their roofing costs."

Potentially, a properly-designed green roof has many practical applications as well. The roofs can be used to grow vegetable gardens or herbs, or simply flowers.

Some grocery stores are now using green roofs to grow their own produce, Serviss said.

While it would likely be entirely possible for enterprising types to grow narcotics such as marijuana on a green roof as well, it's something the company has never heard of yet.

Staff members at Greenland said the project was a bit of an experiment for them, but is in keeping with the company's policy of promoting sustainable building activities.

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