Keeping our Green Roof - Green

August 7, 2014 Irit Shtock

It’s the middle of summer so why are we still talking about winter? Our Green Roof took quite a hit from the ice, snow and the polar vortex but with some TLC, it’s just about back to its previous splendor.

We’re in the midst of summer and winter should be but a distance memory.  Unfortunately this past winter left its mark across Ontario and we know we’re not alone in still feeling its effects. The large amounts of snow, an ice-storm and extreme cold weather still have me shivering at the thought of it. Especially feeling the wrath of this past winter is our head quarters’ Green Roof.

In June 2009, the ninth floor paved terrace was transformed into a lush rooftop garden providing many business and environmental benefits. The space is used for outdoor office meetings, corporate events and informal lunch breaks while also providing a visually-appealing workplace environment; the unusual backdrop for offices that have windows overlooking the array of succulents, grasses and evergreens. It provides energy savings by reducing heating and cooling costs, as plant layers provide additional insulation to the structure beneath and helps reduce the urban heat effect by cooling and filtering the surrounding air. Additionally, the green roof also retains up to 75% of summertime precipitation which delays and filters storm water run-off, reducing sewer overflows and provides an additional habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

Completed Green Roof in 2009

This spring, once things began to thaw and vegetation began to bloom the damage left from the harsh winter was evident. The once rich greens of the scots pines, yews, grown grasses, perennials, sedums and herbs did not all return. An infestation of mealybugs had already compromised some of the plants but the cold temperatures and windburn took them out completely. Similarly most of the herbs died and weeds took over, flourishing with the heavy spring rainfalls.

Damaged vegetation

Although devastating, Esri Canada remains committed to ongoing maintenance and growth of the Green Roof.  As soon as conditions allowed, the damage was assessed and crews began to clear out the affected plants. Crews were then hard at work to plant new grasses, sedums and yews.

Replanting of the Green Roof

I’ve been fortunate to be able to see the fruits of the dedication and hard work. It’s looking great already and I can’t wait for the annual Wine & Cheese Social on the Green Roof next week to enjoy the full glory of the restored gardens.

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