Living Roof. Green Roof.

Screen capture from virtual tour video of the living roof at Northern Edge Algonquin

Screen capture from virtual tour video of the living roof at Northern Edge Algonquin

Just putting this out there.

I was talking to Frank at Phog about living roofs. My brother Todd and his wife Martha have a business up north (Northern Edge Algonquin – virtual tour here) and they have a building with a living roof. Simply put, you can grow stuff on your roof because you have placed soil there (where the sun has access to it). It takes some know-how, and a “professional” needs to brought in to assess whether or not this can actually be done (load-bearing, structural requirements, installation, pest control, etc.).

The reason Frank and I began chatting about this was because homes and businesses can save an outrageous amount of money by reducing their heating and cooling bills. The living roof acts as a major insulator. AND you can grow stuff on your roof. If you wanted to supply your restaurant with fresh vegetables, you could conceivably grow them fresh, organically, on your roof.

So, in conversation recently, I have been asking people (friends who have worked for ERCA and other environmentalists) and NONE OF THEM have a clue where to go to have this happen! I cannot believe that no one knows anyone in Windsor who can at LEAST come and assess my property to see whether or no a living roof is possible at Phog Lounge.

Anyone? Anyone?

I was reading an article recently in the Windsor Star, and it was recently discussed on Scale Down’s blog HERE. The Suzuki school being built in Windsor will be the greenest in the country, and we should be BESIDE OURSELVES with pride and joy about this! Finally, Windsor is taking a LEADING role with SOMETHING rather than a reactionary or stalled inaction. If we could wrap our heads around green collar jobs replacing blue collar jobs (manufacturing solar panels, education and training for living roof installation, ecological water collection and filtration system installation, etc., etc.) we might be THE LEADING CITY and an example to the rest of the country. I mean, where better to make an impact with this kind of movement than a city associated with pollution, sickness, and desolation? Suzuki should be bringing his organization’s focus to this town in order to do a sort of…Extreme City Makeover.

I guess I will have to call the people behind this project to get information about who will be installing the living roof on the new Suzuki school. I just don’t think I’ll be finding any living roof installers unless someone reading this has a connection.

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8 responses to “Living Roof. Green Roof.

  1. Hey Tom!

    At first I seemed a little skeptical about this project – it seemed a little gimmicky, BUT then I was reminded of the benefits (heating/cooling/etc)!.

    It seems like a good idea if it is ultimately financially/structurally possible. Though, if it’s a little tight monetarily now, it could ultimately pay for itself in the future.

    Do you have a link for the Suzuki School? Sounds interesting.

  2. As far as I know you need to talk with an architect. I took civil engineering in college and I talked with someone who knows a thing or two about them and she said you need to speak with an architect too. That way you will know if your structure will support the weight.

    The only thing I worry about with Phog is the buildings around you since I think you’re in the shadow of Victoria Park Place from the south. Not sure how much sun you get there.

    I’d be willing to help if it happens though. I’m not even sure what sort of roof you have already. Even if you have access. Maybe you could approach Architecture students at St. Clair with the project and see if they could work on a design for you. When I was in college our Civil Engineering class was given a similar project to work on from someone who wanted to turn a movie theater on Erie Street into a Bar.

  3. Tom – Joe Passa would be the architect to talk to (ww.passa.ca) as he has built many institutional buildings in this city and a couple of them with green roofs. I can call in a favour if you want…

  4. If you want to make this happen, come talk with Noel and Rod at their Green Corridor class… they’ve put proposals forward to put a green roof on the CAW Student Centre, have planted climbing vines on the top of the residence buildings at the University, and Noel has a small studio north of Toronto with a green roof on it.

    The class will start up again the fall, tuesday and thursday 4-7 in lebel.

  5. oh, woops.. I meant the winter, they run the class fall and winter… so in January, they’ll be in class!

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