Friday, April 27, 2012
Editorial: Savings through the roof
Roanoke's live roof will show others the beauty of saving energy.
From the RoundTable blog
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Here and there across Roanoke, plants have been sprouting on a few rooftops — not that you'd notice. They're called live roofs and can pull triple duty: extend the life of the underlying roof, save on utility costs and collect rainwater.
More than that, though, they're pretty. Soon, anyone who drops in or passes by the Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building on Church Avenue will be able to see firsthand the beauty of this energy-saving project.
This weekend, if all goes according to plan, city workers will unload interlocking trays of sedum grown especially for Roanoke at Riverbend Nursery in Riner and install them on top of the building's highly visible white roof that protects the building's lower floor.
"It's definitely a high-profile roof," Ken Cronin, director of general services/sustainability for Roanoke, said in a recent interview. "We can talk about energy savings — and it will do that. But it's all the more interesting because you can see it."
The city is spending $57,900 on the green roof and another $22,000 on a rain harvesting and irrigation system that will collect water off the building and into tanks that can be used to replenish the roof during dry spells or for other landscaping needs downtown. And by protecting the flat roof, the plants could as much as triple its lifespan.
Cronin's crews have tackled a lengthy list of energy-saving projects that go unnoticed except in their substantial savings in utility costs. This one wraps sustainability and savings in a floral bow, making it the perfect platform to showcase being green.