Archive for May, 2008

SW+A Green Roof!

Zach Bearden, RLA, LEED® AP

Green roof

Actually, it’s only four square feet of LiveRoof®. Sample modules of this product have been placed on the roof of our office building to test in our specific coastal climate. There were over 15 different green roof venders this year at The GreenBuild Chicago Expo, but LiveRoof® stood out as the leader among a crowded field of competition.

Our Mount Pleasant office was very fortunate to have Mike Semones of Riverbend Nursery meet with several of our Landscape Architects to demonstrate the benefits of LiveRoof®. Riverbend Nursery out of Virginia is one of several growers around the country that distribute this product. LiveRoof® plants are selected for extreme drought tolerance, disease and insect resistance, long life, low maintenance, and beautification, which are all characteristics of succulent, water-holding plants like Sedums, Alliums, Sempervivums, Delospermas as well as others. The best plants for green roofs will both store water and have a special type of metabolism called ‘Crassulacean Acid Metabolism’, CAM for short. CAM plants are unique in that under drought conditions their stomates (leaf pores) are open at night rather than open during the day like most plants. CAM plants exchange gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) in the dark when it is cooler and less windy, and they are up to ten times more efficient with water conservation than non-CAM plants.

Mike Semones was kind enough to leave us with two modules that will be monitored over the next year to determine whether this system will be successful in the Charleston area. There are currently no LiveRoof® installations in South Carolina. Modular systems, such as LiveRoof®, allow for quick installation and instant impact. The modular design makes this a great product for existing building retrofits. The future “greening” of existing buildings will become increasingly popular over the next 5-10 years as more information on energy savings and operations cost reductions become available.

To learn more about LiveRoof® visit:

Green roofs, in general, have many aesthetic, environmental, and financial benefits. Green roofs can contribute directly or indirectly to over 20 LEED® certification credits, depending on the size of the green roof and the degree to which the various features described above are incorporated into the overall building design. Often one of the first line items to be value engineered, green roofs have great potential to contribute to significant long term savings. For more information on Green roofs, visit the following links:

ASLA Green Roof Project

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

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