The time of green is upon us. With it comes a generation of folks that blend business savvy with ecological sensibility to produce consumer-friendly products. Producers have learned buyers want green-but-easy; something eco-friendly but nothing difficult or cost prohibitive. This is America, after all. It’s fitting then that two American companies have teamed up to create an affordable, simple living roof system to combat global climate change. A joint effort by Weston Solutions of West Chester, PA, and ABC Supply Co., Inc. from Beloit, WI, offers the eco-forward GreenGrid roofing system. In this arrangement, ABC Supply has proprietary ownership over the GreenGrid roof systems technology and Weston Solutions serves as the exclusive licensee throughout the U.S. In short, ABC Supply owns the supplies for this the turnkey, modular roofing system known as GreenGrid while Weston Solutions (or designated subcontractors) operate as the trusted “builder” to install them. But what makes this particular roofing technology different and better than all the others? The answer lies in its prefabricated, modular nature. Green roofs have been used in various cultures for centuries. But the energy-saving benefits have brought them back to relevance. Typical green roofs are site specific, meaning planters and structural borders have to be constructed and attached to the building itself.
GreenGrid eco-roof
The GreenGrid roof on an IKEA store in Stoughton, MA. Photo courtesy of GreenGrid.
As pointed out, the disadvantages of traditional green roofs come to the fore almost immediately. Installing a vegetated hat on your building is no afternoon project. Planters need to be custom-made and secured to the structure. Designs need to be drafted and executed in a manner that fits the building’s surface area. Many components need to be planned and fabricated — drainage systems, mats, root guards, moisture retention, etc. GreenGrid’s advantages leap out since all of these features that are necessary for a healthy roof garden are self-contained within each module. These modules don’t require the labor-intensive approach of built-in green roofs since each unit is more or less dropped into place. A second perk of the GreenGrid system addresses upkeep. If, or more appropriately, when repairs or alterations are needed on the building, non-modular living roofs are an embedded obstacle. On the other hand, the GreenGrid system “modules can easily be moved and then put back in to place without disturbing growing media or plantings.” GreenGrid also employs lightweight materials in order to minimize the load a roof must bear. This, in turn, makes structural improvements somewhat rare and mitigates repairs from adding a lot of weight on the roof — a perk built-in systems can’t boast. As needed, the different pieces are easy to put on, and easy to take off, ad infinitum. With gardens, there are endless possibilities. GreenGrid’s system only enhances the level of customization. Whether it’s just a section or the entire surface of a building’s roof that can go green, this system is easy to implement to keep sustainability attractive. In fact, there’s even a nursery dedicated to keep GreenGrid roof gardens not just alive, but lively. Plantings are started and nurtured at the nursery until installation. With this comes the option of swapping for diversity. Is it a new season? No problem, send current modules to the nursery and get new, different plantings. More plants, better planet. An abundance of vegetation keeps carbon sequestered, produces more oxygen, retains storm water and limits the “heat island effect” in which energy gets trapped in urban centers. All together, green roofs have huge ecological benefits. The GreenGrid system goes further by creating the modules from recycled materials and offering an option for using only native plants to the system’s region. All these elements add up to some major points in the LEED system for evaluating sustainable buildings. In our green lens of environmental awareness, the ancient dirt-and-plant roof is now a hip, reborn idea. The ease of installation and maintenance, customization and sustainability have further progressed the living roof under the GreenGrid banner. With such a list of pros, why would someone want any other kind of roof? The answer is in the fact that living roofs are essentially gardens, requiring attention and effort. But not with GreenGrid. Just pick the pieces, create a plan and go green!