OCTOBER 2011    Keeping    Algae    at Bay                                             Vegetative                         ...
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Historic Landmark Given New Life


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Roofing Contractor Magazine's Cover Article on the green roof addition to the First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisconsin's Meeting House. As a Frank Lloyd Wright design, the original structure is a historic landmark and thus it's addition required thoughtful planning. The LiveRoof Hybrid Green Roof System was included in the project design to provide stormwater retention and preserve the site's natural beauty. Story by Tom Watts.

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Historic Landmark Given New Life

  1. 1. OCTOBER 2011 Keeping Algae at Bay Vegetative Systems Giving Structures New Life Official THE PUBLICATION of the International Roofing Expowww.roofingcontractor.com
  2. 2. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// n The First Unitarian Meeting House in Madison, Wis., was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2004. The Kuba- la Washatko Architects designed the green roof which tops an addition to the building. Photos courtesy of LiveRoof, LLC. Historic Landmark Given New Life Addition to First Unitarian Meeting House Includes Green Roof
  3. 3. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// CoolRoofingPlus Architects selected First Unitarian as one of 17 buildings that exemplify Wright’s contribution to American culture. “Maintaining the integrity of Wright’s original design while nearly doubling the square footage of the church was an intriguing challenge — all the more so since the congregation was committed to sustainability and achieving a LEED Gold rating for the project,” said Vince Micha, CDT, an associate at TKWA and the senior architect on the project, who noted the Meeting House was designated a national Historic Landmark in 2004. “We designed the project to be historically sensitive and highly sustainable.” The use of green elements included extensive use of recycled materials, innovative thermal comfort systems, generous daylighting and natural ven- tilation, careful sourcing of regional building materials, energy-saving light n A 7,000-square-foot green roof was installed on a 20,000-square-foot addition to the First Unitarian Meeting House. by Tom Watts D esigning an addition to any Frank Lloyd Wright building is a daunt- ing architectural chal- lenge. So when a 7,000-square- foot green roof was installed on a 20,000-square-foot addition to the First Unitarian Meeting House in Madison, Wis., it took a joint effort by a Wisconsin-based architecture firm and a Michigan-based horti- cultural company. The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc. (TKWA) of Cedarburg, Wis., took the lead on the fixtures, and comprehensive stormwater First Unitarian Meeting House, a historical management featuring a 7,000-square- building where original construction was foot green roof. completed in 1951. Just nine years after “A green roof as the first line of defense construction, the American Institute of in stormwater management was under- n This photo shows LiveRoof modules ready to stood as essential from the start of the go on the rooftop. project planning,” Micha said.
  4. 4. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// CoolRoofingPlus n On an 85-degree day, while the copper roof of the First Unitarian Meeting House heats up to 115 degrees, the green roof stays at 85 degrees. about half an hour every other Saturday during the growing season to take a walk on roof by myself and pick up a handful of weeds.” LiveRoof’s Soil Elevator is a removable insert that lines the inside of the modules and allows soil to be filled above the top of the modules. When all the modules are installed side- by-side, and the Soil Elevators are removed, an uninterrupted layer of soil and vegeta- tive surface extends above and across all the modules. This unifies the entire installa- tion and conceals the modules themselves — no grid lines visible on the rooftop; no unified layer of soil. That helps to keep seams between modules to allow air to A “Green” Green Roof weeds out.” escape from the roof below and reduce In researching green roofs, Micha said he “We didn’t know what to expect in green roof performance; no plastic or metal was “underwhelmed with the alternatives.” terms of maintenance. We had a group of edges within the vegetative field exposed “Other modular systems were trays six volunteers sign up for roof duty. We to the sun to heat up and stress the plants with exposed soil and sprigs of plants,” thought we’d maybe spend a whole day adjacent to them; and no photo degrada- he said. “That looked like a maintenance on the roof a couple of times a month,” tion of green roof components. nightmare of weeds waiting to happen. said Tom Miskelly, facility manager for “By shading and insulating the roof Brown, and not green, just wasn’t what the First Unitarian Society. “It takes me top and through the natural process of I envisioned.” Micha talked to another TKWA archi- tect who had previous experience with the LiveRoof Hybrid Green Roof System from LiveRoof, LLC. The LiveRoof system is a green roof installed with full-grown, mature plants thriving in a healthy eco- system, which is established on the day of installation. The design of the LiveRoof modules is horticulturally refined. Manufactured with 100 percent recycled plastics and compatible with different types of flat roof systems and single-ply roof mem- branes, LiveRoof modules establish a green roof as a thick, seamless planted surface rooted in a continuous, intercon- nected layer of soil. “When we’re talking about green roof maintenance, we’re talking about weeds,” said Dave MacKenzie, horticul- turalist and president of LiveRoof, LLC. “With LiveRoof, a green roof is a dense, seamless meadow of plants rooted in a n The vegetative system was supplied by LiveRoof, LLC. The LiveRoof Hybrid Green Roof System was installed.
  5. 5. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// CoolRoofingPlus evaporative cooling, green roofs bring sharing of moisture and nutrients. The A Thriving Ecosystem rooftop temperatures in line with the roots of LiveRoof plants bind the soil MacKenzie said plants are living ambient air temperatures,” MacKenzie together and hold it in place. The soil things with biological requirements. said. “Plants transform heat and soil itself stores and releases water naturally. “Wherever plants are planted, plants moisture into humidity. That’s natu- MacKenzie said a LiveRoof design have to be appropriate for the environ- ral evaporative cooling. Each gallon of “creates an ecosystem on the roof top ment, and the environment has to be water that is transpired by plants or that maximizes environmental benefits, appropriate for the plants,” he said. “To evaporated from the roof surface liber- energy savings and rooftop aesthetics.” attain the highest level of green roof per- ates 8,000 BTU of thermal energy that “For roofing contractors, LiveRoof formance, we must keep in mind that just would otherwise heat up the roof.” is easy to install and horticulturally as the structure of a roof has engineering Of note, on an 85-degree day, while sound,” said John Pilmaier, an estima- requirements, a green roof has horticul- the copper roof on First Unitarian heats tor with Langer Roofing & Sheet Metal ture requirements. up to 115 degrees, the green roof stays in Milwaukee, Wis. The project’s roof- “A green roof has to be green — a at 85 degrees. ing contractor and green roof installer, connected, horticulturally developed, In addition, MacKenzie said the prod- Pilmaier said he prefers to use LiveRoof and sustainable ecosystem in which uct’s Moisture Portal establishes soil-to- versus other systems because of the Liv- plants can thrive.” soil contact between sides of the mod- eRoof modules are delivered to the job- ules. Therefore, both above and between site fully vegetated with healthy plants. Tom Watts is the associate editor of Roof- modules, a LiveRoof is a unified green “When we were done and walked off ing Contractor. He can be reached at 248- roof. Unifying the soil across the entire the job, we left a green roof that looks 244-1738 or wattst@bnpmedia.com. roof maximizes the cohesiveness of the like it had been growing up there for a soil and plant roots and allows natural couple years already,” he said. LiveRoof, LLC (800) 875-1392 sales@liveroof.com www.liveroof.com Reprinted with permission from Roofing Contractor, October 2011 © 2011, BNP Media.