Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central
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The Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library Greenroof in September, 2009; Photo Courtesy the Mayor's Office of SustainabilityProject Name: Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central
Year: 2008
Owner: Free Library of Philadelphia
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Building Type: Library
Type: Semi-Intensive, Test/Research
System: Custom
Size: 5000 sq.ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public
Submitted by:

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Architect: Moshe Safdie and Associates
Architect: Kelly Maiello
Landscape Architect: Lager Raabe Skafte Landscape Architects
Greenroof Consultant: Peter Philippi, Green Roof Service, LLC
Roofing Contractor: U.S. Roofing
Planting Installation: Galbally Landscaping
Project Manager: Jim Pecora, Free Library of Philadelphia
Lead Project Coordinator: Fredda Lippes, City of Philadelphia
Growing Media: rooflite? Extensive MC, Skyland USA
Moisture Retention Mat, Drainage Board, Root Barrier & Protection Fabric: Carlise
Photo Credit: www.philadelphia.about.comPhoto by Elizabeth Robertson, Staff Photographer: Courtesy of Green Roof Service
The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than six million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely-used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.

The Parkway Central Library green roof project was initiated by Fredda Lippes, RA LEED AP, Dept. of Public Property and Mayor's Office of Sustainability for The City of Philadelphia. On September 29, 2008, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter cut a green ribbon and officially unveiled the Parkway Central Library?s new green roof demonstration project atop the four story 1927 Beaux-Arts building. The green roof was made possible through generous support from H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest; PECO; the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; and Quita W. Horan. ?I want to commend all of those involved in making this vision a reality,? commented Mayor Nutter. ?This project is another example to cities across the country of what can happen when many different sectors ? government, business and non-profits ? work in partnership towards a common goal.?
Before the greenroof...Photo Courtesy of rooflite...and after the greenroof! Photo via BioCycle
Encompassing 5,000 square feet on both the east and west sides of the terrace facing Logan Square on the southern quadrant of Parkway Central?s roof, the green roof is proteted by an EPDM waterproofing membrane and includes 100 cubic yards of rooflite growing media and more than 5,400 plants. Sedums include Murale White Stonecrop, Blue Cadet Creeping Sedum, and Blue Spruce Stonecrop along with grasses such as Blue Grama, Feather Reed Grass, Blue Fescue, and Prairie Dropseed. Signage features information on the variety of plants along the publically accessible pathways. The Library?s green roof demonstration represents the first green roof on a city-owned building and is part of the Mayor?s initiative to make Philadelphia one of the greenest cities in the country. The accessible green roof offers a beautiful view of central Philadelphia from the terrace.

Divided into two areas flanking either side of the central roof terrace and resting above the main entrance of the building, "the green roof installation was completed at a cost of $200,000. The green roof is an extensive design with some semi-intensive areas in the 6? to 12? soil depth range with over 5,400 sedum plantings. The summer roof temperature prior to the green roof installation was recorded as 128 degrees on the ballasted areas to 170 degrees on the exposed black EPDM ? the green roof surface would average approximately 30-40 degrees less than the ballasted area," (Delaware Valley Green Building Council, see below).

The City of Philadelphia offers up to $100,000 in business tax credits for a green roof - download the Business Privilege Tax Application for the Green Roof Tax Credit, Philadelphia Code ? 19-2604(8) here.

Additional thumbnail photos:

Photo Courtesy of roofliterooflite? Super Sacks waiting to be lifted; Photo Courtesy of roofliteThe Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library Greenroof in September, 2009; Photo  Courtesy the Mayor's Office of SustainabilityApril 17, 2010 via flickr: Courtesy of rooflite
The Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library is located at 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1116; 215.686.5423/5312; The Library roof terrace is accessible from the 4th floor of the central library Skyline room. For more information on this project contact Jim Pecora, Renovation/Expansion Project Manager, Philadelphia Free Library at: or Fredda Lippes at 215.683.3656 and Fredda.Lippes@Phila.Gov.

See the profile from the Delaware Valley Green Building Council and the T-VSSI - Temple - Villanova Sustainable Sormwater Initiative, where you can see photos and a graphic of the Anatomy of a Green Roof material section. Read the December 29, 2011 GPW: Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central by Linda Velazquez in the Sky Gardens Blog; the February 2011 Philadelphia Free Library Green Roof Install Video rooflite blog post by Joe Donnelly; the Free Library of Philadelphia September 25, 2008 Press Release Parkway Central Library Hosts Mayor for City?s First Green Roof; and see the short installation video "Parkway Central Library's Green Roof" by the Free Library on YouTube here. Learn about the following companies in The Greenroof Directory: rooflite and Green Roof Technology (formerly Green Roof Service).
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