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Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Future of Simplicity: Green Roof tour of MEC!

Today we had a rare opportunity to tour the GreenRoof above the Mountain Equipment Co-op building. Special thanks to Doors Open Toronto for the chance for us to see such a fantastic oasis in the middle of our concrete and steel jungle!

I was absolutely stunned when I first climbed up the steep access steps. I think my exact words were "Holy Shit." I dunno if our MEC tour guide Dave heard me whil
e he offered me his hand to help me up. So rather awkwardly (rather than leave him hanging) I shook is hand.

Here are the two shots I took with my cell camera. Its rather blurry, sorry! (future Simplicity investment to come...)

As you can see its a ridiculous amount of green space. It was like stepping onto a prairie in the middle of the city! Our tour guide told us that this is about 10,000 sqr. ft. of native prairie grass land growing only on 4" of volcanic top soil.

Some interesting facts passed onto us:
- $50,000 for the reinforcing of the rooftop for the additional weight of the soil (load bearing under soaked soil conditions)
- $120,000 for the setup itself of 4" of light volcanic topsoil, irrigation and planting.
- This roof is irrigated once and a while using a retrofitted rainwater storage
- Can be mounted/retrofitted onto any roof and on a sloped roof too! (Though not sure if it can be on the steeper ones)
- This roof is maintained to keep invasive species of plants out. Otherwise very little maintenance!
- Does not require reinforcement if you use the smaller, sod roll-out 2" plot.

- This cools the roof to about 20 degree's lower than the regular asphalt and gravel roofs, which average about 50 degrees during the day.
- This also cools the building, lessens the residual heat passed into the building
- Natural nesting ground/food source for birds and bugs
- Reduces the amount of storm drainage water that sweeps pollutants from our streets and sewers into our lake by absorbing (watering) up to 75% of the rainwater.
- Reduces wear on the roof. (Which I worked out to double the lifespan of a roof, if you consider that roofs are redone/patched every 10-20 years.) That's about 40 years!
- Reduces CO2 emissions! (naturally of course!)

I simply cannot wait to have a green roof of our own on any future Simplicity property. Special thanks to Dave our guide for putting up with mine and Jasna's inquisitive questions.

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