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The Story of Our Green Roof: Part 1

In 2006, Pashek Associates decided to experiment with designing and building a green roof on our 1890’s office building located at 619 East Ohio Street on the Northside.  We wanted to see what we could do with a little money, a little time, and a little physical labor.  After discussing different options, we decided on a simple extensive tray system, mostly because the manufacturer was using them on a larger project in the city and agreed to put an extra one hundred trays on the truck and deliver them at a discounted price.

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One cold December morning, we put on our working gloves and carried the 50-pound trays filled with special growing medium into place, assembly line style.  Each 2’x2’ aluminum tray was set down on five small rubber pads to allow excess roof runoff to flow under the trays and into the existing roof drain.   No other material was applied directly to the roof.  It was as simple as that!

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Then, on a warm spring day, the whole office pulled our gloves back on and planted the trays with several varieties of sedum.  We used small plugs and get them a good soak using water from a rain barrel attached to our third floor roof.  We did install a drip irrigation system for the first growing season.  We have removed the system and haven’t needed to water the plants since.

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A couple years later, we thought we had a roof leak.  A roofing contractor moved the trays around the roof in order to find the leak.  He was surprised to find that there was almost no degradation of the roof membrane as a result of the green roof trays.  Ultimately, instead of finding a leak in the roof, the contractor found a leak in a brick wall.  That’s when we knew that our green roof was really doing it’s job!

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