It has actually been more than 10 years since the application of a living roofing system at the Ford Dearborn Truck Assembly Plant in Dearborn, Mich. The facility opened in April of 2003, with the real roof application completed the preceding year. This was a landmark task for living roofings in the United States. At 454,000 square feet, it holds the distinction of being the largest living roofing system on a free-standing building in North America. It’s the fifth biggest in the world. It likewise helped generate interest in living roofs across the market.


A number of years earlier, there were publications about the study and on how the roofing system was performing after 8 years of application. A current evaluation revealed that all is well with the roofing system, the plants and the ecological systems set in put on this structure.


The prestige that the project gotten, and continues to get, is a benefit to the living roof industry, however the size and attention that it garnered will not be the job’s greatest achievement. The landmark status will be made sure by the way that this job streamlined living roofing system design and application, assisting spur an increase in the popularity of these setups. Living roofs were not new principles in 2000. In fact, this kind of building had been offered in the United States market for more than 70 years at that time. Although the market share was nominal, there was a substantial track record of these installations at the time. These applications were not typical to the roof market due to the fact that the application methods mirrored below-grade waterproofing systems. They were intricate systems that utilized specific materials and burdensome application approaches. The common style for rooftop garden applications consisted of 2 stages: the membrane assembly and the living assembly:


The rooftop garden membrane assembly consisted of 3 components:

1. Waterproofing membrane

2. Security board

3. Insulation.


The living assembly was a complex system, typically consisting of:

1. The drainage layer.

2. The filter material.

3. The planting medium.

4. Leading dressing/mulch.


These systems were not just complex to use, they were incredibly pricey, not only due to membrane materials and application approaches, but since added structural support was required. The garden assembly had as numerous products and application requirements as the membrane system, in addition to (usually) 4 to 6 inches of growing medium. The growing medium normally included soil that included dead load to the structure and increased live loads after rains. In addition to cost and weight, these systems had another drawback; they needed constant maintenance. As soon as the growing medium and plants were in location, roots could potentially permeate the membrane, and looking after the plants and controlling weeds took as much time as it would for any yard or garden in the house. Because of these concerns, the majority of garden roofing systems in the United States were applied at penthouse apartments on high-rise structures in New York and San Francisco.

Lighter, More Versatile Systems.


Vegetative systems were a lot more common in Europe, particularly in Germany in the late 1980s and 90s. Technological improvements in living roofing technology have provided many benefits that have actually made these systems more affordable. The main advantages of brand-new living systems are as follows:


– They are light-weight.

– They are much easier to apply.

– They require very little long-lasting maintenance.

– They offer instantaneous plant with established plants.

– They have a performance history of tested efficiency.


The increased use of these systems in Europe assisted stimulate changes to the growing medium and the plants used. Sedums were incorporated into mats, making the systems both light-weight– no actual soil is needed– and immediately aesthetically pleasing. Another benefit is the greenery requires little maintenance.


The living systems can be used in mats or tray systems that are set over the roofing membrane. The average growing medium assembly is normally approximately 2 to 3 inches thick. The medium is now supplied as a full assembly that includes the plant life and growing media, in addition to the needed defense mats and drainage layers. The vegetation does not have root systems that could pierce the membrane. In the majority of application techniques, the professional simply sets the living system assembly over the finished membrane in similar style to using pavers. Some membrane producers require a protection layer between the completed membrane and the living roof assembly system.


While the technological advancements were primarily to the living surface area, it has actually greatly benefited roofing system membrane style. Traditional garden roofing applications needed a waterproofing membrane that might avoid root penetration, was resistant to a variety of chemicals from the soil, and would permit standing water at the surface area for extended time periods. It would likewise need to have the longevity to last the life time of the garden application. The limited choice of membranes that could meet these requirements– and the numerous layers of applications required– included substantial expenses to these kinds of installations.


Much like pavers or ballast, today’s living roofing system innovation can be applied over virtually any kind of roofing system membrane system. The majority of the major low-slope membrane producers in the United States market offer some type of living roof system as an appearing choice. The system design for living roof applications is similar to traditional design of a ballasted system, consisting of:


1. Requirement roofing system deck.

2. Insulation system.

3. Membrane.

4. Living roof system.


Just like all conventional low-slope roof systems, appropriate slope and drainage are needed. Due to that the living roofing system will hold water, it is vital that the membrane maker’s requirements on this problem are satisfied. It may be a finest practice to use membranes that are not negative to ponding water. The cost of including artificial slope may restrict the application of a living roofing.


These applications can also be utilized on steep-slope business and property structures. Living roof systems are available that can be applied over metal panels and shingles.


Benefits of Living Roofs

Living roofing systems are eco-friendly and contribute to the sustainability of the structure. Application of these systems can get approved for LEED points for the center. Some of the primary benefits of living roofings consist of a decrease in energy costs for the building and improved storm water management. Given that the membrane is shielded type UV direct exposure, a living assembly can boost the durability of roof membrane. A vegetative system can add usable space and make the building more visually pleasing. It can also assist improve surrounding air quality, boost green area in urban environments and combat the metropolitan heat island result.


There are now a variety of makers that use living roof and living wall assembly systems. All these businesses provide a myriad of options and training to assist make sure successful applications. The ease of application and the long-term ecological advantages will add to more acceptance of these systems.


Ford Motor constructed a visitor’s center structure at the Dearborn Assembly Plant that ignores the living roofing. People are now taking tours of the living roof. has a lot of fantastic info on living roofs. Do not hesitate to check them out.


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