Creative Discovery Museum Getting City's Largest Green Roof

Monday, March 15, 2010

A new green roof is being installed this week over the existing roof of the at the Creative Discovery Museum.

Randy Whorton with Engineered Verdant Solutions (EVS), a division of Stein Construction, is installing the sedum green roof system and says “this will be the largest green roof in Chattanooga to date with over 3,000 square feet of sedum plants, planting boxes and even small trees. It will provide a multitude of benefits for the museum and the environment.”

Stein Construction Company and Greenspaces are funding the green roof and are also assisting with the installation.

According to the manufacturer’s information, LiveRoof, green roof vegetation will help cool the air during the hot summer months reducing indoor temperatures and air-conditioning costs.

The green roof systems can reduce stormwater runoff by up to 90% annually depending on the climate, soil and pitch of the roof, it was stated.

Because the plants and soil filter the rain water as it percolates through, the roof can buffer acid rain and remove nitrates and other contaminants before it returns to the aquifers by way of stormwater systems and streams, officials said.

Museum officials said, "The green roof at CDM will become an additional habitat for butterflies, songbirds and insects, including the museum’s own honeybees, which will return in their hives after the roof is completed.

"Perhaps the most valuable benefit of a green roof will be the new environmental educational opportunity it will provide children and their families visiting CDM. While the public will not have direct access to the roof, there will be multiple views available on the second story and in the tower. Additional educational information will be posted explaining the benefits of green roofs and how they work."

Executive Director Henry Schulson said, “We are delighted to have a green roof at the museum. It is an important part of our efforts to become a more environmentally friendly institution. The green roof will not only provide environmental benefits to the museum and the community, it will also be viewed by thousands of children and families every year who will learn the many ways that a green roof can help create a healthier planet.”

The installation of the roof will only take a few days. First a protective membrane is installed to protect the existing roof. Modular containers made of recycled plastic materials contain a few inches of soil and full grown sedum plants. These containers are laid directly on top of the membrane and are connected to one another to create the roofing system. The sedum used on the roof is a highly heat and drought tolerant succulent ground cover and is resistant to damaging insects and disease. It only requires sporadic watering in the dryer summer months.

In addition to sedum plants covering the majority of the roof, shallow planter boxes containing colorful annuals and perennials will rest on top of the walls surrounding the roof. These include Vinca, Black-eyed Susan, Echinacea and other seasonal flowers. The planters along with the colorful sedum will enhance the views from the second story windows and improve the environment for the bees. A grid walkway will be constructed to allow access to tend the roof and plants with minimal disturbance of the beds.

Other benefits for CDM include a reduction of indoor sound and extension of the existing roof life. The plants and soil protect the roof from U.V. radiation, thermal contraction and expansion from temperature extremes, and reduce damage from winds, it was stated.

The installation of the green roof is one of many environmental improvements that the museum has planned in the coming months as the organization explores the possibility of pursuing a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for existing buildings, officials said.

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