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BRILLIANT!

It’s May and the swallows are in flight over the largest green roof in the City of Philadelphia.

A view of the Cira Center from the largest green roof in Philadelphia

A view of the Cira Center from the largest green roof in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is known worldwide for more than just cheesesteaks and Rocky Balboa. The Philadelphia Art Museum, the award winning Green City, Clean Water’s program and even the PECO green roof garner interest and respect beyond the city line, and for good reason.

A view of the Schuylkill River and the Philadelphia Art Museum from the PECO green roof.

A view of the Schuylkill River and the Philadelphia Art Museum from the PECO green roof.

Nine million gallons of water – that’s how much stormwater the PECO green roof has managed since it was planted in December of 2008. Over one acre of succulent plants (planted in 3-inches of light weight media) function as a green infrastructure work horse. The highly engineered green roof media captures at least 60% of the rain that falls on the roof, storing it in the root zone. The massive network of groundcover plants soak up this rainwater reserve and ultimately evaporate the excess water into the atmosphere. This process, evapotranspiration, is the mechanism through which green roofs cool the rooftop atmospheric temperature and protect the city’s waterways from combined sewer overflows and damaging erosion from high storm runoff flows. Rainwater, drainage, roots, evapotranspiration – Brilliant!

The environmental benefits of green roofs in urban environments are legion, but the visual impact of a landscape on structure – the view offered to the surrounding buildings – is a benefit that cannot be measured but should not be understated.

Many Center City buildings have a view of the PECO green roof.

Many of Center City’s prominent buildings have a view of the PECO green roof.

The PECO green roof is being maintained by Roofmeadow Services, Inc., launched by Roofmeadow earlier this year.

Roofmeadow Services, Inc. working the PECO green roof.

Roofmeadow Services, Inc. working on the PECO green roof.

The deeper beds and planters host a selection of native perennials some of which are just ready to open and start a green roof bloom show.

Indigo ‘Blue Smoke’ bud about to bloom.

Indigo ‘Blue Smoke’ bud about to bloom.

A beautiful Taraxacum, commonly referred to as Dandelion.

A beautiful Taraxacum, commonly referred to as Dandelion.

Phlox subulata in full bloom.

Phlox subulata in full bloom.

This green roof includes a helipad!

This 42,960 square foot green roof includes a helipad!

A view of the Cira Center South Tower, still in construction.

A view of the Cira Center South Tower, still in construction, from the neighboring PECO green roof.

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One Comment Post a comment
  1. Marilyn Shreffler #

    LAZARUS, Columbus, Ohio has such a roof meadow. Kris and I toured it several years ago.
    Beautiful… we must go again to see how allthe greenery has matured. And the water collected way more than needed to service the groups using the building, at that time, “given” to the city. Now the restaurant has opened on the first floor….. they may be using all of the water..

    May 13, 2015

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