Thursday, October 2, 2008

Power Plants on the Roof

Hello one and all - yesterday was a red letter day for the HAUS - we installed our green roof (800 sf in 6hrs!) and it looks amazing! For those of you who'd like to know, we used a vegetated roof system called LiveRoof. It comes in preplanted modular trays (1 ft x 2ft by 4" deep) with native plant species selected for your specific exposure and microclimate.

Our roof used 2 different plant mixtures -
Classic Carefree Sunny Mix
Sedum Album (Coral Carpet)
Sedum hybridium(Immergrunchen)
Sedum reflexum (Blue Spruce)
Sedum rupestre (Angelina)
Sedume sexangulare
Sedum spurium (dragon's blood)
Sedum Neon
Allium Flowering Onion

Shade Mix
Sedum Pachylados
Sedum hybridium(Immergrunchen)
Sedum spurium (Fireglow)
Sedum rupestre (Angelina)
Sedume sexangulare
Sedum spurium (Green Mantle)
Sedum Spurium (Royal Pink)

These plants are carefully selected to handle lots of rain but also do well for long periods without rain in our Minnesota climate. They will grow to be between 2 and 4 inches tall -and besides periodic weeding will require very little maintenance.

I like the Live Roof system because it comes fully planted and ready to rock and roll. We ordered the plants in early June and the nursery did most of our work for us - growing and caring for the plants all summer long before harvesting them for us this past week and prepping them for our installation. Now that they are on our roof, we don't need to be watching bare dirt with a few plant plugs watching and waiting for them to grow - it's an instant green!

Boy, You Crazy! Why you want a green roof?
Green Roofs help:
  • Manage stormwater (up to 95% of rain fall is used by the green roof)
  • Reduce Energy Costs (energy use reduction of 25% and higher)
  • Extend the life of the primary roof system by 200% (protecting rooftop from temperature swings, ultraviolet radiation, etc)
  • Noise Reduction
  • Improve air quality
The Live Roof system costs about $12.00 per sf but will vary depending on the size of your order. We installed it ourselves and so saved a lot on labor costs. We worked out the details and became certified green roof installers through our local Live Roof supplier - Bachman's nursery.

Here are some photos of the installation in progress:

The plants arrived via truck and after unloading are ready to be brought up to the rooftop.

We rented a scissors lift to help move the modules (about 50 lbs each) up to the rooftop. There was no way I was going to carry 400+ roof modules one at a time on a ladder. The plywood on the ground helps protect the newly planted lawn.

Even local celebrities get in on the act. Here, the famous Curt Kietzer carries the first of many modules to it's final destination. My brother Brian is working the lift.

Getting Started - all the modules click together to stabilize each other and promote better plant growth. The green soil elevators keep the soil in place until they are installed. Working from right to left, we filled in the rooftop pretty quickly. You can see the dark grey 45 mil epdm slip sheet we used as root barrier on top of our real roof membrane. We don't want the plants messing with our roof membrane!

Jeffrey Swainhart is the man with the saw cutting the modules at the end of each row to ensure a tight fit. Cutting takes a long time and should be minimized!

Regular sweeping is critical to avoid pinching any sharp aggregates between the plant trays and the roof membrane.

Curt K and Guy Williams seen splicing the joints at the metal edging - I favor the edging over the cutting .

When the upper roof was nearly complete, we started in on the lower roof (Shade Mix)

Lower roof complete

Upper roof complete

A nice detail so my ladder doesn't damage the plantings on the lower roof when I need to access the upper roof. The pavers are recycled rubber porous paver systems called VAST from our friends at Natural Built Home.

We've been measuring how much water our rooftop generates during each rainfall (we're collecting runoff in rain barrels). Now, with the green roof in place we can track the reduction in that amount. Rather than sending our runoff to the stormsewer system and thus to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River, we're using the rainwater to keep our plants healthy and happy so they can do all those good things for our home.


Anonymous said...

Kevin, This looks wonderful, and should work even better! The work and design you've implemented here is fenomenal. Hats off to you and your family for all the hard work, and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of it.


John M said...

Congratulations on a great looking project! I couldn't help but notice the lack of any fall protection system on the roof. Perhaps installer certification should include safety training for installers working at heights. Fall protection is not only a good idea, it's the law.

Roof Leaks said...

Hi Kevin,

Your project is looking great. Its been very impressive for me. Its really a very strange idea for me to have power plant on the roof. But however nice work buddy. I would also like to congratulate you that you have completed your work. Good Luck...