Green Roofs: Open for Tours

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Green roofs are built right into a roof system and composed of a “high quality water proofing and root repellant system, a drainage system, filter cloth, a lightweight growing medium and plants,” according to  These planted roofs are beneficial in many ways, from stormwater management and reduction of a building’s energy usage to cleaning the air and providing habitat for birds, butterflies and bees.

Some green roofs are intensive, with soil depths to about 15 feet, and allow for the planting of trees and other plants, as well as architectural features such as benches and fountains.  Extensive green roofs are less expensive and lightweight systems which support drought-tolerant grasses, sedums and perennial flowers.

Where can you see these cool roofs?  While there are many green roofs built every year in the U.S., only some are open to the public for viewing.  Here’s some of the best:

  • California, San Francisco:  Visit the Academy of Science rooftop (pictured here) to observe the densest concentration of native wildflowers in the city.
  • Michigan, Dearborn:  View the world’s largest living roof, at 454,000 square feet, atop the Ford Motor Company while touring the truck assembly plant.
  • New York, Queens Botanical Garden:  Walk through trees, shrubs and blooming perennials from ground level to the top of the roof of the Visitor & Administrative Building!
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia:  PECO Energy’s green roof is open for tours through the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society every third Tuesday of the month.  An added bonus is the stunning view of the city skyline.  Register here.
  • Oregon, Portland:  Visit the Central Library’s ecoroof or take a virtual tour of 10 green roofs to see different designs and all the details of these ecoroofs around the city.
  • Washington, DC:  The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) offers guided, virtual and real-time web cam tours of their green roof.
  • Washington, Seattle:  View of pdf of numerous green roofs, some of which offer public access.

Learn more about green roofs from the University of Delaware and

Tag(s): Green Building, Greening the Home, Greening the Office, The Great Green Outdoors


One Response to “Green Roofs: Open for Tours”

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