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Green roofs, walls gain momentum in South Carolina
by David Quick
The Post and Courier Translate This Article
4 June 2017
On 4 June 2017 The Post and Courier reported:
When Michael Whitfield started Charleston-based Green Roof Outfitters in 2008, he was sailing in virtually unchartered waters in South Carolina and was among the vanguard in the Southeast. ...Also known as 'living roofs,' green roofs are simply a vegetated covering for a roof. That covering has an array of benefits beyond aesthetics. Green roofs reduce energy costs, especially during the heat of summer. They retain and detain storm water and increase the longevity of roofs by blocking ultraviolet rays and easing extreme surface temperatures. They also absorb pollutants.
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The University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business, which has a LEED Platinum certification, had one installed three years ago, also by Living Roofs of Asheville. The 28,400-square-foot green roof is accessible by faculty and students and includes plazas and walkways.
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Costs and considerations
The costs of green roofs vary.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the cost of installing a green roof starts at around $10 per square foot for simpler extensive roofing and $25 per square foot for intensive roofs. Annual maintenance costs for either type may range from 75 cents to $1.50 per square foot.
But the upfront costs are often recouped over time.
The University of Michigan, for instance, compared the expected costs of conventional roofs with the cost of a 21,000-square-foot green roof and all of its benefits, such as stormwater management and improved public health from the absorption of nitrogen oxides.
The university found that the green roof would cost $464,000 to install versus $335,000 for a conventional roof in 2006 dollars. Over its lifetime, though, the green roof would save about $200,000. Nearly two-thirds of the savings come from reduced energy needs for the building below it.
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