Green Roof and Wall Policies in Devens Regional Enterprise Zone

Sourced from the Living Architecture Monitor

Devens, MA, a former army base, has been redeveloped using sustainability principles for over a quarter century. It has a population of approximately 2000 people, and a labor force of over 5500 people. The Devens Regional Enterprise Zone is four square miles with approximately 6 million square feet of rooftops. In an effort to realize the sustainability vision for Devens, mitigate the long-term impacts of development and conserve the natural environment, the Devens Enterprise Commission (DEC) developed Green Infrastructure Guidelines for new projects.

The DEC Rules and Regulations promote, or require the incorporation of green infrastructure into development projects in order to increase green space, to manage stormwater runoff, improve air quality, and mitigate climate change. In 2011, the Vegetated Roof and Wall Policy was implemented to dictate the standards for green roofs and walls that are required to be developed as a part of the Design Standards (974 CMR 3.00 Site Plan 3.04) and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Regulations (974 CMR 4.00 Industrial Performance Standards and General Regulations 4.11).

Policy Description

The Vegetated Roof and Wall Policy provides a checklist of mandatory provisions that must be met in the design and construction of a green roof or wall, including the requirement that a Green Roof Professional (GRP) be a member of the team. This policy informs the Design Standards for vegetated rooftops and walls in the Viewshed Overlay District and the vegetated roofs required for development projects that require an air quality permit. Green roofs shall be a minimum of 4” of growing media, and utilize native and non-invasive species that cover 40 per cent of the roof space with 80 per cent plant coverage after 3 years. The Museum of the New England Landscape is located across Route 2 from Devens. Projects visible from the Museum are within the Viewshed Overlay District and must screen their buildings to the extent possible by using green roofs and walls. The DEC’s Design Standards for buildings in the Viewshed Overlay District require vegetated roofs and vegetated walls. The green wall coverage required has to cover the entire wall that is facing the viewshed with the exception of ventilation systems.

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