Thursday, September 11, 2008

The green roof is in!

Here are a few pics of the final installation. As you can see, we will need a couple of growing seasons before the roof gets filled in. The sedum plugs will mostly grow outward and fill in the spaces in between. If certain areas don't fill in adequately, the homeowner can always add more plugs later (although JIG does provide a maintenance warranty and will fill in rough spots in addition to weeding for 2 years after installation) . To most, this might not be what was expected when imagining the green roof...but as with many landscape features, it will take time to mature and will get better with age. You can order trays of mature plants (which we are interested in trying sometime) for the "instant" green roof (check out "Live Roof") but they tend to be more expensive and miss all the fun of growing your own roof from scratch!

A close up view of one of the larger plants and some of the other varieties. You gotta love the Philly skyline off in the distance. You can also see the tag of one of the main plant species and the contact info showing where it came from. Our sedums came from: Emory Knoll Farms. The wind protection (brown matting made from coconut husks) that is covering the dirt should only take about 1-2 years to completely biodegrade.

An overall shot of the roof area looking north. The piece of plywood in the middle is sitting on top of the deck area (which doesn't have the boards laid yet). You can also see the roof hatch opening near the middle and the A/C pad at the left.

A view looking south. You can see the location of the black scupper box in the corner of the roof. The roof hatch (a double glazed, low profile dome) is being ordered and should arrive soon. We still need to trim up the felt around the edges and install the Zalmag metal cap flashing around the perimeter.

One of the frustrating timing issues we had was the fact that the green roof is finished now but we will not have running water in the house until at least a week from now. The roof needs to be watered fairly often in the first few weeks (then only periodically for the first couple of growing seasons, then it's pretty much self-sustaining). Let's just say that I have never prayed harder for rain than I did the last couple of days. And you know what? It worked. It rained steadily most of the day today (and is supposed to continue over the weekend). Our kind neighbor is allowing us to use their spicket next week until we have our own water. The plumber will install a hose bib on our roof at the exhaust chimney. We can then set up a watering system on a timer so we can keep the roof damp over the next few weeks.

The deck is being constructed with Everwood, an environmentally friendly, borate-based treated wood product, that is sold at Green Depot. We considered other options (including reclaimed wood) but Everwood seemed to achieve the durability levels and the price point that we were looking for. Composite decking (such as Trex) is also a nice green product but we remain big fans real wood for decks (kind of a vice in the 'green' world, I know, but at least it's non-toxic). The GC will be finishing the deck early next week (FYI: Green Depot stocks 2x6s of Everwood but has to order 2x4s as they are not as common for decks). I'll post some pics of the finished roof deck next week.