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May 31, 2013
By
Michelle Butzgy/Paraglide

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - More than 500,000 evergreens, semi-evergreens and deciduous plants are flourishing in a surprising location at Fort Bragg -- on the roof of the Installation Transportation Deployment Support Area.

To help certify the $13.4 million building for the Army's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver, the architectural/engineering firm, chose to place a vegetative carpet system to cool the building while reducing storm water runoff, said Jeremy D. Wilson, project engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The roof contains 5,000, one foot by two foot modules of plants specifically selected for North Carolina's climate, covering about 10,000 square feet, added Wilson.

"This mix ensures year-round vegetation and variation, while the deciduous plants losing leafs helps to nourish the soil. The plants and the system itself is designed to last indefinitely with minimal maintenance," he said.

The green roof system was designed and installed by LiveRoof, an organization of green roof innovators around the country. The low-maintenance plant modules, growing up to 12 inches can hold up to 6,000 gallons of runoff, such as debris and sediment, which would otherwise end up in the area's streams and rivers, said Seth Leff, LiveRoof manager.

The vegetation covering the roof acts as an insulator and cools the building, said Wilson. Rooftops may reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. A rooftop with a LiveRoof installed can significantly help cool the building plus or minus 95 degrees with a potential energy savings from 25 to 50 percent, he added.

For more information about the Army's LEED program, visit www.sustainability.army.mil/tools/programtools_leeds.cfm. To learn more about LiveRoof, visit www.liveroof.com.