Design Model for Coastal Green Roofs - Part Two
By Kevin Songer, J.D., LEED AP, Tropical Green Roof Editor
Photos and Graphics by Kevin Songer Unless Otherwise Noted.
Welcome to Part Two of our series entitled "Design Model for Coastal Green Roofs." Although the title says "Coastal Green Roofs" and we are focusing in on a beachfront green roof design, this series of posts is applicable for use in the design of most any green roof...
...For this series of posts our client is an architect, one who has incorporated green roofs into her projects before. She also possesses an appreciation of nature and desires her beachfront home to "become part of the existing dune system, blending in to where the structure looked as though it sprang up out of the dunes naturally." Her living roof will be three stories up in the air and even though the green roof assembly would not be visual from the ground or adjoining structures, the owner would enjoy many other benefits such as habitat creation for shorebirds, stormwater attenuation and cleaning, green house gas mitigation, carbon sequestration, urban heat island effect reduction and lots more...
Native plant species Gaillardia pulchella, Blanketflower, Glandularia maritima, Coastal Vervain, and Serenoa repens, Saw Palmetto, cover the site slated for construction and a green roof.
Design Model for
Coastal Green Roofs - Part One
By Kevin Songer, J.D., LEED AP
All Photos Courtesy and ©
has been exactly two years since I wrote the last ‘Tropical
Green Roofs’ post.
Designing oceanfront green roofs presents many challenges and many opportunities.
If you are
wondering, no, it does not take me that long to write a post;
rather, I have been challenged with two open heart surgeries to
correct a massive aortic dissection brought on by genetic
factors related to Marfan Syndrome. But my passion for
tropical green roofs impacted by hurricanes, salt and other
harsh conditions has never faded.
We ended the last
post by saying that we would talk about ways to better
understand existing green roof site parameters with the intent
of utilizing a model to help us select the right plant for the
right place on the roof. Ask anyone who has designed,
built and installed green roofs over the years and they will
tell you that there are patterns to successes and failures both.
Gaillardia pulchella, blanketflower, is a very drought and salt tolerant coastal species.
The next series of
posts here will follow the modeling of an ocean-front, shoreline
green roof design presently underway just south of Jacksonville,
Florida. This project has its challenges. The house
will sit atop a high dune with the living roof built on the
third floor roof. There will be little or no parapet, the
five to ten meter per second winds will constantly buffet the
green roof and coat the plants and soil media with a thick layer
of salt spray, the sunlight is unrelenting and the heat
blistering. We do not want to ‘sandblast’ the neighbor’s
house with green roof soil media either...
Studying seaside plants for Green Roof potential, grasses on the dunes.
Green Roof Editor Column on the Sky Gardens Blog:
Tropical Green Roofs
to the Greenroofs.com Tropical Green Roofs column on the Sky Gardens Blog.
As a third generation native Floridian, I’ll be hosting an ongoing series of
posts focusing on green roofs and living walls in the tropics.
Tropical and sub-tropical ecosystems present a variety of unique challenges
to the designer. Heat, humidity, pests, cyclones and hurricanes,
extreme temperature swings, severe droughts and other factors can all
potentially influence a green roof system over a short period of time.
the tropical green roof and living wall technology I refer to as
“vertical green” have faced, they are now rapidly becoming
important environmental and sustainability trends across the
Experts such as David Aponte in Puerto Rico, Jimmy Sterling of
Jacksonville and Joe Webb of Houston, Texas are developing
leading edge, tropical green roof technology and sharing their
experiences and data. Field trials are being conducted and
important data accumulated. But much of the information
surrounding work with tropical green roofs is scattered across
Kevin Songer, Tropical Green Roof Editor