Green Roof Environment and EngiNeering Facility

Global Institute for Water Security

GREEN Facility is a research and testing place for industry to enhance and develop green technologies and all other aspects involved in the construction and efficient operation of green roof systems, specifically targeted to cold regions.

Green roof technology is a key clean tech approach to reduce global CO2 emissions and improve storm water management. A green roof is one that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium. As such, it provides an environmentally friendly storm water management system by using, storing, filtering and releasing excess water much more slowly than impervious surfaces. Green roofs are proven “green infrastructure” approach to reduce CO2 emissions by lowering temperatures and insulating building roofs. Green roofs provide natural cooling via plant evapotranspiration and can have an insulating R-value of approximately 1.5 per 150 mm of soil substrate. These greatly reduce roof surface temperatures, reducing air intake temperatures and conditioning needs, improving air quality and reducing the overall urban heat island effect. The life of flat roof membranes can be doubled or even tripled when protected from extreme temperature fluctuations by green roof substrate and vegetation resulting in lower lifecycle costs and less construction waste.

In Canada, green roof systems are increasing rapidly from coast to coast. In 2010 Toronto passed a Green Roof Bylaw that requires a green roof component on roofs greater than 2,000 m2. New bylaws are coming into effect elsewhere. While this form of clean technology has been implemented successfully in many cities around the world and across Canada, design and implementation and performance of green roofs thus far has been focused mainly on temperate regions. However, the market is still immature in Western Canada and other colder climates, since the application of green roofs are often not well understood and assumed to be impractical in these regions.

Our business focus will be first and foremost “about” how the GREEN Facility can address and reduce risk at a future installation site—we have learned from the MOST experience that “the sell” is “not about” demonstrating a technology, but about helping clients (owners, manufacturers, suppliers, design professionals and builders) reduce risk. We feel that with the MOST activity, we can hit the ground running with jobs for the GREEN facility using this approach.

Photo credit: Mark Ferguson

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