Turf & Rec

Features Profiles
Manitoba ‘green’ roof slated for controlled burn


March 24, 2009
By Mike Jiggens


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DUCKS Unlimited’s Canadian headquarters near the Oak Hammock Marsh area in southern Manitoba will undergo a controlled burn of its roof this spring.

The building features a 28,000-square-foot green roof which is grown to various short and medium-size grasses and flowering plants which are native to the surrounding Oak Hammock Marsh.

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The burn will get rid of dead vegetation, improve the soil makeup and oust invasives. A previous controlled burn on the roof was done in 2000.

Green roofs have grown in popularity in recent years. They are particularly popular in Germany, but many North American building owners have caught on to the technology which serves to reduce summer air cooling energy by 25 per cent and cut heat loss in the winter by 26 per cent through the added insullation.

Most green roofs don’t require a burn. Weeds are usually eliminated through conventional means.

The roof at Ducks Unlimited’s interpretive centre resembles a natural habitat for waterfowl. Ducks annually nest on its roof, and a goose made it its home more recently.

Green roofs boast several other advantages. They stagger or reduce the amount of storm water runoff, placing less stress on sewer systems, they are six to eight degrees cooler than roofs without vegetation, and provide habitat for wildlife in urban settings.

Although the cost of constructing a green roof is more than that of a traditional roof, they tend to last twice as long and don’t require maintenance as frequently. The cost-savings associated with cooling and heating normally offset the cost of the roof itself, and its longevity provides long-term savings.