Schools and universities throughout the United States now appear to be embracing green roofs as one of many environmentally friendly initiatives. This living rooftop, with all its associated benefits, has been something many have long wished for and has finally become a reality.
Once a green roof is in place, school managers soon realize they are not the same as typical landscaping. Although they tend to be relatively low-maintenance, the location and highly specialized plant types of a green roof mean that facilities personnel must learn how to care for and maintain these new systems — an aspect that sometimes can be overlooked during planning and installation.
Because a green roof is a living part of the building envelope, occasional to regular maintenance (depending on the scope of each project) is as vital to the success of the green roof as the objective, design, plant selection, climate and other project specifics. The question becomes: How do schools most effectively maintain a green roof?
This question has financial implications — the initial investment to install a green roof can be as much as two times that of a conventional roof. Proper maintenance increases the likelihood of a successful green roof project, making the return on investment well worth the upfront cost of the roofing system. Further, when the cost savings for heating and cooling a facility crowned with a green roof enter into the equation, a green roof becomes an even better value — but again, only when maintained properly.