How to Green Your Roof in DC

by UrbanTurf Staff

How to Green Your Roof in DC: Figure 1
Courtesy of DC Greenworks

This article, originally published in 2012, has been updated to include new links and additional information regarding green roofs in DC.

In 2011, 800,000 square feet of green roof was installed in DC, more than any other city in the country. Green roofs offer a variety of benefits to the resident and the city, including lowered energy costs, an extended roof-life, stormwater retention and improved air quality.

So how can interested homeowners start the process? One way is by contacting the Anacostia Watershed Society, a non-profit that facilitates the District Department of Energy’s Green Roof Rebate Program, which covers a certain cost per square foot of your green roof. The program is open to existing buildings of all stripes — residential, commercial and institutional — and sizes. Starting in 2014, residential properties smaller than 2,500 square feet in what is known as the Bloomingdale Watershed may qualify to receive up to $15 per square foot.

DC greenworks is also a resource; the organization has installed 125,000 square feet of green roof since their inception, and was involved in building DC’s first green roof in 2000. Capitol Greenroofs is one of the main green roof installers in the District for those that have done the necessary research and are ready to go.

Mayor Gray’s sustainability plan includes a goal of installing 1.5 million square feet of green roof in the city over the next few years, and there is some talk of turning at least some of that space into urban farms. So along with the sunbathers and loungers, we may get a new population of urban farmers hanging out on DC rooftops.

Update: AJ’s comment below does a very good job of going into detail about the types of green roofs and their benefits to lengthening the life of your roof.

See other articles related to: green roof, green

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how_to_green_your_roof_in_dc/5692

1 Comment

  1. aj said at 6:36 pm on Friday June 29, 2012:
    it's important to know the different between an extensive green roof (shallow, 4-6" in soil depth, no meant to be walked on or used to grow anything more than sedum or other ground cover) and an intensive green roof (deep soil, up to 12" or more, can be used as a garden for appropriate plant materials and walked on). Extensive roofs are primarily used to manage stormwater runoff and mitigate the urban heat island effect while providing habitat for local fauna in the city (think birds, butterflies and bumblebees). The load of an extensive green roof can likely be carried by any structure that was designed to carry a snowload. an intensive green roof, on the other hand, is *extremely* heavy and should not be installed without structural analysis of your existing home. some people like the tray option, where green roof modules are part of an interlocking system that may also include pavers or other elements to provide a complete roofscape. Many people like the tray system because it is easy to remove if you need to get to your roof for repairs. Speaking of repairs, make sure you have proper drainage under any green roof system! your green roof should extend the life of your roof significantly by protecting it from UV exposure and degradation. Do your homework - there are probably many landscape companies or designers who woul dbe happy to discuss the details of what is appropriate for your home.

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