Project of the Week for March 7, 2016: Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge Truck Plant

March 7, 2016 at 8:01 am

By Linda S. Velazquez Publisher Project of the Week: 3/07/16


Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge Truck Plant
Dearborn, MI, USA
454,000 sq.ft. sf. Greenroof

Project of the Week Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant

Publisher’s Note:  In tribute to the passing of Xero Flor founder Wolfgang Behrens last week, we are honoring his memory by highlighting this Ford Motor Company’s famous greenroof.  Read more at In Memoriam: Wolfgang K. Behrens, Founder of XeroFlor Green Roofs by Clayton Rugh and In Memoriam: Wolfgang Behrens, the Father of Green Roofs by Joy Schmidt.

Project of the Week Description & Details

In 2000, the 600-acre, $2 billion Ford Rouge Center near Dearborn, Michigan, underwent major redevelopment of its 1917 complex, laying the groundwork for sustainable manufacturing at one of the world’s largest and oldest industrial icons. With William McDonough + Partners as design architects, numerous pilots of advanced environmental concepts were constructed alongside the nation’s largest ecologically inspired living roof on the new assembly plant. In 2004, the 10.4 acre Ford Truck Plant green roof was recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest living roof and helped jump-start the early North American green roof industry.

Project of the Week Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant

Project of the Week Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant

The green roof was a critical part of the overall comprehensive landscaped system plan, and after visiting Germany, pre-vegetated mats from Xero Flor using the drainage component from Bonar (formerly Colbond) were chosen by Bill McDonough and team due to their thin and light properties. They were installed with just 1.25 inches of growing medium integrated into the mats, and weigh less than ten pounds per square foot when fully saturated. The original mats retain a very healthy appearance with a dynamic mix of plant varieties. The most recent plant coverage study, conducted in 2010 by Michigan State University, found that 13 of the 15 original species were thriving with 93 to 98 percent coverage of hearty vegetation sprawling across the roof. In addition to serving as a habitat for nesting birds, the green roof provides insulation for the truck plant, and according to Ford, it keeps the roof an estimated 10 degrees warmer in winter and 10 degrees cooler in summer, reducing energy costs significantly. The River Rouge Plant is open for tours and visitors can see the living roof from an 80-foot observation deck atop the LEED® Gold Certified Visitor Center.

View the PROJECT PROFILE to see ALL of the Photos and Additional Information about this particular project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Project of the Week Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant

Project of the Week Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant

Year: 2003
Ford Motor Company
Dearborn, MI, USA
Building Type:
Extensive, Test/Research
454000 sq.ft.
Inaccessible, By Appointment

Project of the Week Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Design Architect: William McDonough + Partners
Vegetated Mats: Xero Flor
Architect of Record, Civil MEP and Structural Engineers: Arcadis Giffels
Construction Manager: Walbridge Aldinger
Project Manager: Joy Schmidt, Vitaroofs International (formerly Xero Flor Canada Ltd.)
Research Support: Michigan State University, Department of Crop & Soil Science and Department of Horticulture
Stormwater Consultant: Cahill Associates
Vegetation Consultant: Wildtype Native Plants
Plant Suppliers: Hortech, Inc., Walters Gardens, Inc., Xero Flor America, LLC.
Waterproofing: Siplast
Roof Membrane Installer: Christen Detroit
Drainage: Bonar (formerly Colbond, Inc.)

Project of the Week Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant

Project of the Week Video Feature

Watch the Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge Truck Plant Project of the Week Video below or see it on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

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Love the Earth, Plant a Roof (or Wall)!

~ Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEEP AP, GRP