While at AIA last week, MarketScale’s Geoffrey Short spoke exclusively with Robert Parker, owner of Chatfield Green Roofing in Elbridge, NY, to learn more about the growing popularity of green roofing solutions.
Geoffrey Short: Can you walk me through more details about your company?
Robert Parker: Well, we are a “green roofing” company. The Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City installed one of our green roofs and the building is accumulating approximately $3 million in energy savings between heating and cooling costs and retaining over 10 million gallons of rainwater, so it doesn’t have to be treated, and evaporates back into the air. The wildlife here is attracting tourists. From what I’ve been told there are over 30 different types of species of birds that visit and nest on the roof. The Javits Center used to be one of the biggest killers of birds with their glass rooftop, then they replaced the glass with our green roofing system, and now there’s a whole new ecosystem there.
GS: Can you talk about the sustainability aspect of green roofing?
RP: The good thing about Chatfield is the non-biodegradable base carrier we offer. This foundation doesn’t rot like mats many of our competitors have. Down the road in 20, 30 years, you can pick it up, put a new roof on and grow the mat back in a truly sustainable fashion.
GS: Are there any challenges for switching to a green roofing solution based on climate?
RP: First of all, the plants and seeds are very drought resistant. Sedums and succulents which require no lawn mowing and very little weeding, so the maintenance is ideal. There are different seed varieties for the varying growing areas throughout the country. We try to grow for the area we’re building it in. There are more drought tolerant plants in hotter zones and more adaptable topical type seeds in more humid climates.
GS: Are you working more with architects to projects that are being built or are these typically renovations and changes after a building has been built?
RP: A lot of it is done during building and adding our green mats onto the roofing membranes. So we are tied to certain roofing manufacturers or we definitely try to collaborate and partner with roofing solutions to get this on during the construction.