Green Roof Brightens the View for Patients at VA Hospital

At the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, a modular green roof system was installed to improve the quality of life for patients in the extended care wing.

At the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, a modular green roof system was installed to improve the quality of life for patients in the extended care wing.

Michael Whitfield was fascinated by the concept of green roofs, but he didn’t encounter many of them near his home in Charleston, S.C. He knew green roofs benefitted the environment, extended the life of roof systems and were aesthetically pleasing, so he was sure he could tap into the market in the Southeast as a green roof installer. When he couldn’t find a modular green roof system he liked, he designed his own. Whitfield is now the president and CEO of Green Roof Outfitters. Founded in 2009, the company manufactures components for green roofs installed all over the country. The company also installs green roofs itself, as was the case with a nearby hospital project.

After reading research studies that showed hospital patients recovered more quickly and needed less pain medication when they had a natural setting to look out on, Whitfield was inspired. He checked with local hospitals to see if there were areas that would be good candidates for green roofs. When the PR person at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center expressed an interest, Whitfield passed along the research material.

Months later he got a call asking him to submit a bid. While the hospital’s budget did not allow for a green roof to be installed on the entire building, there was a section of the roof that could be worked on right away. It was a 3,000-square-foot area on a wing for extended care patients, who looked out on a white TPO roof. “We put a green roof on that whole strip outside their windows so the patients would have something nice to look at,” Whitfield says.

Roof Materials

Construction took place on a weekend, when traffic would be lighter. A crane was used to load the material on the roof, including 4-inch-deep trays for the extensive modular green roof system and 2-inch-thick rubber pavers to go around the perimeter. Plants in the pre-grown mats included different varieties of sedum. Chives, prickly-pear cactus and other perennials were added later.

Green Roof Outfitters partners with growers around the country to provide pre-grown mats. Different varieties of plants are used in different parts of the country, but in most markets the company has had success with a blend using approximately 14 different varieties of sedum.

Whitfield believes the proper combination of plants is essential. “Two buildings that are right next to each other could have different microclimates, so you don’t know exactly what is going to work perfectly there and what is not,” he says. “We mix these plants with a variety—some do better in shade, some do better in sun. With the different tolerances they have, the strongest will survive, so we will always have something there. Many people make the mistake of planting one species they like with a certain pattern or color. But if you plant one species—a monoculture—and it doesn’t like it there, you’ll have a totally dead roof.”

Roof Report

The system does not require slip sheets for installation, but some roof manufacturers require them to maintain the warranty on the existing roof. In this project, a layer of 40-mil EPDM was placed on top the existing TPO roof. “We laid the modules on top of that,” says Whitfield. “We have rubber paver walk pads, which have feet on the bottom for drainage. We put those around the outside so we could have a nice-looking barrier and a walking area for the maintenance guys.”

Michael Whitfield was on hand to oversee the project at the VA medical center.

Michael Whitfield was on hand to oversee the project at the VA medical center.

“Many people don’t know this, but a green roof can help the roof last 200 percent to 400 percent longer by preventing UV degradation,” Whitfield says. “It shades the roof and protects it. During the day, exposed roofs get superheated in the sun, and cool at night, so they are constantly expanding and contracting. A green roof system keeps it at a constant temperature.”

Another benefit can come from creating functional space on the roof. “We wholesale a lot of systems that combine a green roof with pavers to add usable space,” he says, “We can supply ipe wood pavers or other pavers in different configurations on our pedestal system to make walkways and patios.”

Depending on the environment, an irrigations system is a common option. “Green roof are a low-maintenance systems, not a no-maintenance systems,” notes Whitfield. “We incorporated irrigation channels into the new design of our modules, so you can put in irrigation during the installation or after it is completed.”

Another change is a smaller module. “Our modules used to be 2-feet-by-2-feet, but they were really heavy for the roofers,” he explains. “Our new modules are half the size—one-by-two—so they are much easier to handle and put in place.”

As they become more comfortable with green roof systems, roofing contractors are finding out they can be a valuable add-on with roofing projects. “Once roofers are on the site with all of the equipment and labor, why not make double the money by installing roofing and a green roof?”

No special training is needed to install this tray system. “It’s easy to install,” Whitfield notes. “The modules come fully vegetated, 40 to a pallet. You just pick one up, put it down, and repeat. It’s like laying down dominoes, honestly.”

The modular system is also easy to move if roof maintenance is necessary. “Our system is so flexible,” he says. “If you need roof maintenance, you can just pick up a couple of trays, move them and move them back. This is such an easy, modern way to do it—and it’s very affordable.”

Team

Green Roof Manufacturer and Installer: Green Roof Outfitters

Photos: Green Roof Outfitters

Project Profiles: Health Care

Mount Carmel New Albany, New Albany, Ohio

Team

Roofing Contractor: Smith Roofing, Columbus, Ohio

Bellaforté Slate composite roofing in Smokey Gray was installed on the 117,668-square-foot hospital.

Bellaforté Slate composite roofing in Smokey Gray was installed on the 117,668-square-foot hospital.

Roof Materials

Bellaforté Slate composite roofing in Smokey Gray was installed on the 117,668-square-foot hospital. The composite roofing has achieved a Class A Fire Rating in the ASTME E 108 fire test and withstands straight-line winds up to 110 mph in the ASTM D 3161 test. The roof tiles also resist impact, severe weather conditions and wind-driven rain. Bellaforté Slate tiles not only add safety to the structure, they also add aesthetic appeal.

Composite Roofing Manufacturer: DaVinci Roofscapes

Roof Report

The 60-room hospital features eight operating rooms and specializes in outpatient and inpatient orthopedic, neurologic and musculoskeletal care. The roof was installed in May 2015.

PHOTO: DaVinci Roofscapes

Pages: 1 2

Trust in a Partner

By day, my husband Bart is an ag lender, loaning money to farmers for land, equipment and livestock. By night, he co-owns a sports bar in the lake town in which we live. When we got engaged, he joked about the roles I would soon be playing in his business. I laughed then, but once we moved in together and were married, I more consistently heard about the stressors he was experiencing in the bar business. Obviously, I wanted to take some of this stress off of him and, consequently, have been helping publicize the bar’s events for the past 10 weeks.

I’m no marketer, but I’ve been sharing knowledge from my career in magazines. I’ve started weekly meetings with the owners and managers, which has helped everyone’s communication. I’ve expanded the bar’s social media presence. And I’ve brought in one of my own trusted partners, a graphic designer who now is creating fliers, promos and coupons for the bar. At this point, I’m not sure whether my efforts truly are making a difference—though the bar has been packed the past few weekends—but I do know my husband is grateful to have me more involved.

Relying on trusted partners also can have a positive effect on your roofing business. For example, Pete Mazzuca III, co-founder, executive vice president and sales manager for Cal-Vintage Roofing of Northern California, Sacramento, explains his partnership with Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Ygrene Energy Fund in “Business Sense”. Through the partnership, Mazzuca’s roofing company now can offer customers YgreneWorks PACE financing for energy-efficiency and resiliency upgrades, including roofing, on their homes or businesses. Ygrene considers the equity in the property, not the personal credit of the owner, unlocking finance doors for entire groups of customers. Consequently, the partnership with Ygrene Energy Fund has increased Mazzuca’s business by 20 percent.

Trusting a partner’s expertise can ensure roofing projects meet a building owner’s needs while being cost-effective. In our “Cover Story”, Atlanta-based Diamond Roofing Co., which has its own sheet-metal shop, opted to partner with a supplier to source prefabricated edge metal for the roofing project at Gordon Hospital, Calhoun, Ga. The prefabricated edge metal had been formally tested to meet or exceed the FM 1-105 criterion required by hospital officials. In addition, by ordering the large volume of edge metal the hospital project needed, Diamond Roofing saved time and labor costs.

Last but not least, Thomas W. Hutchinson, AIA, FRCI, RRC, CSI, RRP, principal of Hutchinson Design Group Ltd., Barrington, Ill., and a member of Roofing’s editorial advisory board, often regales us with stories from his in-the-field experiences. In “From the Hutchinson Files”, Hutch explains how to be a better partner when communicating and coordinating between trades—in this case, plumbing, steel and roof design during implementation of roof drains according to new energy code requirements. Because—as Hutch will tell you—it’s not enough to just be a partner and provide generic details; you should be the best partner you can be and really think through roof system design.

Project Profiles: Health Care

MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL, BOSTON

TEAM

Roofing contractor: Chapman Waterproofing Co., Boston
Architect/engineer: Cambridge Seven Associates Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
Membrane and waterproofing manufacturer: Kemper System America Inc.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, features a Kemperol waterproofing and roofing membrane for its green roof.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, features a Kemperol waterproofing and roofing membrane for its green roof.

ROOF MATERIALS

The Kempertec EP-Primer was used to prepare the substrate surfaces for membrane installation and served as a temporary waterproofing system, allowing the project to be exposed to the harsh New England winter while it was completed in phased stages.

The owners chose the Kemperol waterproofing and roofing membrane, a two-component with catalyst, high-performance, seamless and self-terminating cold-fluid-applied reinforced unsaturated polyester system. The monolithic edge-to-edge rot- and root-resistant Kemper membrane is engineered to resist degradation from UV exposure and heat intensity and is resistant to most common chemicals.

ROOF REPORT

Founded in 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital is the third oldest general hospital in the U.S. and the oldest and largest in New England. The 900-bed medical center offers sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic care in virtually every specialty and subspecialty of medicine and surgery. When MGH’s owners envisioned constructing a new 9,000-square-foot green roof above the MGH cancer wing, they had two chief concerns: safety and long-term durability.

The landscaped roof design includes four different gardens with extensive shrubbery, trees and grass designed to provide cancer patients with a haven for relaxation and meditation to aid in the healing process.

A key challenge concerning the hospital’s green roof was its hundreds of penetrations, spaced inches apart, for a sprinkler system to irrigate the landscaped roof. A leak-detection system was installed across the entire square footage of the project to detect water before it seeps into the interior of the building. The leak-detection system confirms the project’s seal-tight success. Upon completion, Kemper System provided a 20-year, no-dollar-limit warranty.

PHOTO: KEMPER SYSTEM AMERICA INC.

Pages: 1 2