Friday, January 22, 2010

Lighten the Load for Green Roof Designers, Builders and City Planners

One major challenge for landscape architects / designers, contractors and builders in green roof design and installation is meeting weight requirements and building codes. Simultaneously, they must create healthy balances of soil nutrients, plant material, and irrigation systems, all settled on safe base structures and with ease-of-maintenance an essential factor for the future. These green roof professionals must also develop potential opportunities for LEED credits, especially when designing for green-initiative buildings or properties.

Big River Industries is the nation’s largest producer of HydRocks, a lightweight expanded clay aggregate perfect for green roofs. In a rotary kiln, selectively mined clay is fired at temperatures of approximately 2000° F, producing a lightweight, ceramic aggregate. The aggregate is then processed to precise gradations, resulting in a high-quality, lightweight compound that is inert, durable and tough.

At nearly half the weight of common soils, this all-natural, eco-friendly, non-degradable aggregate can be mixed as a soil enhancer to provide the following benefits to green roofs:

  • Reduces water usage
  • Retains moisture during dry periods
  • Reduces water run-off
  • Improves moisture retention
  • Provides sufficient draining
  • Promotes healthy root structures
  • Reduces nutrient loss
  • Encourages aeration
  • Prevents soil compaction
HydRocks particles are completely inorganic and can be blended with other soil supplements. The use of HydRocks can also help acquire up to several LEED credits including: Heat Island Effect, Optimizing Energy Performance, Recycled Content, Innovation in Design, Regional Materials, and Thermal Comfort.

One high-level green roof design that implemented HydRocks is Chicago City Hall. The story behind how the developers and planners created this premium green roof structure and the pivotal role Big River Industries played in the project’s success make for a fascinating case-study.

Editors and publishers, contact us with your questions. For case-study information, feature articles, high-resolution images, interviews with the experts, and more information about HydRocks from Big River Industries, please email me anytime. We’re very interested to learn your article and resource needs pertaining to this type of solution-based story.

~ Leslie

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