Ford’s Giant Green Roof: Thriving At Ten


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There are a lot of amazing things about the living roof atop the final assembly building at Ford’s Rouge Center Dearborn Truck Plant, beginning with the fact that it is massive, covering the equivalent of eight football fields, or 10.4 acres. But how about this: It’s also ten years old.

Ford didn’t invent the green roof, of course. They’ve been around for centuries if not millennia, and in the modern era began to pop up in cities in the 1960s. But in the early 2000s, green roofs were still pretty cutting-edge stuff – remember how much publicity Chicago got for its City Hall project? – especially for a big corporation like Ford. And ten years later, the roof is looking great. Check it out:

As the video notes, the Ford roof once was known as the world’s largest. Ford says it’s “still the largest in North America,” but that might be debatable. A lot of people seem to put the Millennium Park project in Chicago at the top of the list, with more than 99,000 square meters (compared to Ford’s 42,000) of rooftop parking garages.

In any case, it’s a pretty amazing thing, and here’s more info from Ford:

ford living roof

image via Ford

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • David Aquilina

    Good article… It raises an interesting question about the size of green roofs. You would think that sizing a green roof would be straight forward, but it does get tricky. For example, sometimes only the vegetated portions (not including walkways installed with stones or architectural pavers) are counted in the measurements. But, some listings include the entire project square footage including both vegetated and non-vegetated sections. In addition, in some projects, such as an office tower complex with separate buildings, the square footage atop multiple buildings are combined into a total green roof project square footage figure. Comparing green roofs installed at ground level to green roofs on top of buildings also gets complicated.

    The Ford Dearborn Truck Plant green roof was installed a decade ago using the Xero Flor Green Roof System. It is still the largest green roof atop a single, freestanding building in North America. An interview with an official from Ford who served on the original project team was recently published on Greenroofs.com: http://www.greenroofs.com/content/articles/109-Ford-Dearborn-Truck-Plant-Green-Roof-at-the-Rouge-Complex-Looking-Back-Ten-Years.htm#.UmbvAvlRqSr

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