CTL Engineering, Inc.
An Employee Owned Company
Spring Issue 2010 Newsletter

Is a Green Roof in your Future?

By Mikel Coulter, AIA

Today's roofs can mean more than the typical covering that provides shelter from the environment.  With the advent of new materials and thoughtful planning, today's roofs can be more than just a cover to protect what is inside.  They can increase a building's energy efficiency, reduce storm water retention, extend the service life of waterproofing, reduce the urban heat island effect, improve the air quality around us, and reduce noise infiltration.

Green roofs can be divided into (3) basic types:  "Extensive" which are typically low parapet roofs that require minimal maintenance and have a shallow depth growth medium of 3"-6" with a localized mix of vegetation. Planting materials could include mosses, sedum, succulents and grasses.  "Intensive" green roofs are higher parapet roofs with a growing depth of 8" to 5" or more.  This roof includes a larger variety of plants such as perennials, bulbs, annuals, shrubs and trees.  These roofs are often accessible to pedestrians and can include such things as walk paths, streams, waterfalls, and sitting areas.  This type of roof often includes complex irrigation and drainage systems and has a much higher weight per square foot adding to a possible increase in the supporting structure.  A "Semi-Intensive" green roof combines features of both the "Intensive" and "Extensive" green roof.

When deciding which roof to incorporate there are several factors to consider:  If you are working with an existing building the weight carrying capacity of the roof will most likely require the installation of an Extensive roof.  Before deciding which green roof to install, a structural engineer should be consulted.  Is it going to be used by the buildings occupants or viewed from adjacent structures?  Will your roof be in a prevailing wind or tucked behind other structures?  Will the roof garden be exposed to direct light reflecting off an adjacent building?  All of these issues can be solved with well thought out planning beforehand.

One very important consideration is what will a green roof mean to your roof system warranty?  Most of today's manufacturers have design standards that allow for some form of green roof but be sure to check first so as not to void your warranty.  By planning ahead a well thought out design can be achieved that can meet both the economic and aesthetic benefits of a green roof. 


[Message from President] [Drill, Baby, Drill!] [Is a Green Roof in your Future?]
[Convergys Above and Beyond Award] [Jackson High School Scholarships]

[Congratulations to C.K. Satyapriya] [Movers and Shakers] [ESOP Corner - Introducing GBQ] [CTL's New Hires] [Newsletter]

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