If weeding your roof sounds like a weird chore you’re glad you don’t have to worry about, you might want to rethink the benefits of having a green–literally–roof. The roof of the St. Louis Community College at Wildwood in Missouri, installed in 2007 by Bi-State Roof Systems, is composed of pallets containing aluminum pans full of soil, pebbles, and sedum plants, giving the roof the look of a garden. And four years later, it’s pleasing college officials with both its appearance and performance.
The roof is functional as well as pretty to look at. Besides offering some scenic views to people in the area, the plants help to manage rainwater in a sustainable way. The sedum plants absorb much of the water, and whatever is left over is collected in 25,000 gallon cisterns, and used to irrigate the surrounding landscaping during dry periods. This reduces the amount of water runoff into the sewer systems. Additionally, the plants and the white roofing material help the building reduce its heat island effect. All of these factors lead to a reduced energy consumption and a reduced energy bill.
The green roof, however, is just one of the features that makes the St. Louis Community College-Wildwood building one of the highest-rated LEED-certified buildings in its local area. The college building was ranked fifth in the St. Louis Business Journal’s list of top 25 LEED-certified buildings.
And in case you’re wondering, the roof does not require large amounts of attention. Facilities manager John Henry Tetstill and lead stationary engineer Tom Seger, will occasionally clean the roof as well as doing a bit of weeding, but the roof is generally low-maintenance. In 2015, the roof will undergo an evaluation by company officials to ensure that its performance is up to par. But they are confident that all will be well with the green roof, and predict that it will continue to reduce energy costs and provide a pretty touch of green on the campus.