CANOECNEWS
24hrs


  Tuesday, 26 September, 2006   |     Montréal     Vancouver
news

The greenest roof in Canada

By SOPHIE NICHOLLS, 24 HOURS

Overlooking St. James Town there’s a garden in the sky.

With energy reduction and its residents experience in mind, the Hugh Garner Housing Co-operative is going green, unveiling Canada’s largest residential green roof today.

“It’s been a long tradition here that we have social space for our members,” said Eleanor McDonald, co-chair of the Hugh Garner Green Committee. “And, it will remain that way with all the possible bells and whistles.”

The intricate project began two years ago, when after more than two decades standing, the co-op recognized it was high time to revamp the building.

First and foremost on the to-do list was to replace the 22,000 square foot roof, but instead of sticking to the cheap and conventional, Hugh Garner decided to invest more cash for better value.


Article Continues Below

“(The roof) was mainly concrete pavement, stones without any shade,” said contributing architect Carolyn Moss of

Moss Sund Architects, adding the biggest challenge was retrofitting an older building. “This was a perfect opportunity to make the building more sustainable and green.”

Though green roofs - which feature a waterproof and root repellent membrane known as the roof’s skin, a drainage system, soil and plants - are more expensive to install than conventional roofs they are said to last twice as long.

These environmentally-conscious roofs also cool down and reduce the heat a building gives off, reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions from heat and air conditioners, absorb storm water run-off collected in sewers and create a safe-haven for wildlife.

The first phase of Hugh Garner’s green roof took five months to construct and cost about $1 million with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the provincial government and the Ontario charity casino initiative. There are three more phases still to go.

“It’s about money, money, money,” said McDonald. “(The project) all depends on how much money can be raised.”

According to McDonald, once complete, Hugh Garner’s green roof will be a babylon for its 400 residents filled with plants, gardens, wheelchair-accessible gazebos, benches and walkways.

Take a tour tonight at 7 p.m. or visit www.hughgarnergreenroof.ca for more information.

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