Planted Roofs - A Growing Market

Toronto has passed laws requiring new roofs on larger buildings to be at least 50% covered with planted area. A recent visit to Chicago, the US cities with the most vegetated rooftops, revealed lots of building tops that are green (at least in summer). And chefs in upscale restaurants are planting rooftop gardens to compete on the freshness of their vegetables.

The planted roof is a trend worth watching. It will have obvious impact on the marketing of roofing membranes and planting media. It will also create new opportunities for site furnishings, decking and paving products, irrigation and drainage products, and thermal insulation. Manufacturers of wall cladding systems, rooftop mechanical equipment, skylights, and even structural materials will have to modify their offerings to remain viable. Add the surging growth of rooftop photovoltaic and wind-powered electrical generators, and the roofscape is clearly assuming a new horizon. Opportunities to retrofit existing roofs may exceed new construction.

Following the planting of the roof top, look for flourishing vertical gardens as we learn a whole new meaning of "green building".