An Expert’s Guide to Green Roofs

Sourced from GB&D Magazine

From a sustainability perspective, installing a green roof seems like a no-brainer. Vegetative roof coverings offer a host of benefits. They cut down on pollution, reduce heating and cooling costs, improve acoustics, extend a roof’s life, and offer an aesthetically pleasing way to bring nature back to urban living. “There are not many applications you can do on a building that have as many benefits as a green roof,” says Bill Bellico, director of marketing and inside sales for commercial roofing and waterproofing company Sika Sarnafil’s U.S. based operations.

The green roofing trend—which dates back thousands of years, to even the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, for instance—took off in Europe with sod coverings. The trend later developed into more comprehensive systems—the ones we use today—in the 1960s in Germany. The systems started to emerge in the U.S. about 20 years ago, Bellico says, with one of the earliest and most visible applications being Chicago City Hall in 2000.

Vegetative roof coverings have become popular in all types of environments, from office buildings to health care facilities, where they are being used as an oasis for patients and their families. “Everybody seems to be fascinated by green roofs, whether they’re involved in the construction and design industry or not,” Bellico says. “They instantly appeal to human nature. The benefits are getting more widely understood
and appreciated.”

Sika Sarnafil has been at the forefront of the green roofing business—installing their first green roof in 1969 in Bad Zurzach, Switzerland, which is still growing strong today. But it hasn’t been all fun and games; the company—and its host of experts—has learned many lessons along the way. Two of those experts recently sat down with gb&d to share some of what they have learned and offer advice to anyone looking to go the green route.

Field Support Services Manager Jon Jensen and Education, Waterproofing, and Healthcare Facilities Specialist John Robinson, who is also a certified green roof professional, together have more than 50 years of experience in the industry. They recently shared green roof advice with gb&d.

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