Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Installing the Green Roof at the brand new Horticulture Center

The new Horticulture Center is very exciting for the Morris Arboretum and for the University of Pennsylvania as it is a prime example of the sustainability movement that we are seeing in modern architecture.  Numerous systems and details of the building have been thought out, engineered and executed as we hope to achieve Platinum LEED certification.  The Horticulture Center is environmentally friendly, aesthetically beautiful and a great place to work.

Over the last couple of days, we have been installing the green roof on the building and we have gotten some good press coverage as the green roof is a very visible green feature.  A Green Roof is essentially a “living roof,” that – through plant cover –reduces a building’s absorption of ambient heat, thus keeping the interior cooler and more energy efficient.  More information on the green roof can be found on the Horticulture Center webpage.

The roof is first prepared to receive vegetation with several different layers of waterproof, root blocking and drainage membranes.  You can see the different layers in the photo below.

The medium is shipped on pallets and then hoisted onto the roof.  The medium is the artificial soil in which the rooftop vegetation will grow.

After the medium is installed, the sedum is hoisted onto the roof in rolls like turf.

The jute is rolled back up and the sedum is then installed on top of the medium.

Keep visiting the blog for more pictures to come as the vegetation matures.

View the full sized images and more in our Flickr set


  1. Very nice and well done. Congratulations!

  2. To clarify, the jute matting was removed before the sedum was installed. The jute was only to keep the medium from shifting until the plants arrived.

  3. Where is the Curator? he should be planting to!

  4. The curator helped on day 2.

  5. Very nice, congratulations. Over 1300 acres of our sedum (as featured) has been installed world wide. The Morris Arboretum will be added to a long list of very well performing Sempergreen green roofs

  6. Green roofing is the best campaign for green earth. While global warming is not on its balance, green roofing will surely decrease the heat in a community. Roofers in Denver also use materials that are very environment friendly to give a better shelter to a family and to save the planet as well. A Denver roofer is very dedicated and passionate to its work in order to satisfy the clients and the ecosystem.

  7. Global warming and sudden climate change are one of the things that we are currently experiencing, and now is the time for us to make that change to saving our environment. In order for us to help our environment, we must change some of our furnishings, windows and roofing with earth-friendly one. I just moved in here in Northern Virginia. Roofing of our neighbors have great design and it seems that they are earth-friendly, also! Our neighbors are friendly, too! And I think, I might wanna stay here in Northern Virgina for good.

  8. Wow, that's the biggest green roofing I've seen so far. Just make sure that the whole building will be able to support that much weight. I mean, it's light till irrigation or rain water comes in. It a common mistake with Green Roofers.

  9. Brendan. A Green roof should NEVER be installed without a structural engineer inspecting the roof.
    The additional roof load is (and should) always be based on saturated weight of the green roof portion on top of the waterproofing membrane. This is in addition to the snow load calculation.
    In all of our 1300 acres of green roofs that we've been involved with a structural engineer was always part of the project.
    Good point either way but luckily it's not a very common mistake green roofers make.
    Dick Bernauer - Sales Manager Sempergreen USA
    cell (301) 219-4071

  10. Great to see you guys doing roofing work with full dedication and i hope you will learn lots of things from that job. I love to read this interesting and inspiring blog. Just want to share with my other roofer friends also so they can also work with honesty and dedication.