No Greenroof for you!

Can’t say I didn’t try. Knowing that it would be the most expensive part of my planned rehab, I wanted it anyway. But the headache of trying to find someone to do it and an email from someone else who also investigated the possibility, seem to point to one conclusion, no green roof for me.
My house is too old, too small, and too structurally screwed up. Yes, I did contact DC Greenworks. That’s where the too old part comes in. My roof is not green roof ready and they had no guidance for me. I contacted another resident, Emily, and she was told by a green design company that for small flat roof homes a green roof wasn’t worth it.
Well, that was depressing.
Anyone got any ideas? I guess I will investigate how to make the house more energy efficient with better windows and toilets and appliances. And maybe see if I can make 1/2 of the roof a rooftop garden.
Anyway back to the drawing board.
Update: Welcome Express Readers. Thanks Jimbo for the heads up. And no, I will not be having any prairie chickens on my roof.

14 thoughts on “No Greenroof for you!”

  1. Someone on the Petworth blog mentioned putting solar panels on their roof. Apparently they received a grant from DC’s Renewable Energy Office and a federal tax credit, covering all but $12K of the $26K cost. They expect it to supply 2/3 – 3/4 of their annual electricity. We’re planning on doing the same when we build up.

  2. Mari, that stinks. But the solar roof sounds really cool though.

    What about getting a permit to put a deck up there (assuming you can support one) and thereby increasing your “farmable” acreage? Maybe it won’t be a true green roof, but you could grow more… reducing your use of agri-business.

    Heck, maybe even raise a hog or a goat up there. Or a very small cow. That would be a brown roof, I believe.

  3. Oooh, solar panels! Does anyone have any more information about this in DC? I’ve been thinking along these lines since I bought my house (flat roof, full eastern, southern and western exposure) and it doesn’t get used for anything else.

    When I had my central AC installed this past fall (package unit on roof), I had the contractor hook up the hose so that I can either drain it into my gutter or use it to water my garden. Since the hottest days are when the system produces the most water, at least I feel like I’m reusing something, even if it doesn’t make up for all the energy used.

  4. We’ve had great luck growing on our third floor. We’re growing in pots, though. We ran a water line from the hose in the backyard to the front of the house.

    The plants get a ton more sun than those in our yard. Alas, the squirrels can get up there, too.

  5. This is a database of other people’s money you can get for alternative power solutions for your home. Click on DC. The last award for solar residential was for March solicitations and came out in April. Solicitations may be entertained again this year. Go for a solution that covers alot of your roof.

    Also, there is a federal tax credit available to defray cost.

  6. I gave solar panels a quick look once. The thing I wonder about is aesthetics and second, I don’t use that much power. My electric bill in the height of summer is less than $100 and I think the lowest is round $20. So with the price of installation and the needed research and hand holding (this is new territory for me) it just didn’t seem like it would pay off.
    There are several green and environmentally friendly ideas out there, but I haven’t researched them all to determine if they are feasible and worth the risk, cost and headache (all building projects at some point have an asprin factor).
    I don’t look forward to scrapping my renovation plan and having to research stuff all over. This just delays things.

    Trux- believe me if I could raise chickens in the city, I would. But I can’t, so no farm animals for me, either.

  7. Yuo can get an entire solar system on ebay made by high-end well-known manufacturers like Siemens for around $6,000. I dont know what the labor is to install that but with the tax credit that makes the materials $4,000.

  8. You may also want to look at tankless water heaters, either gas or electric, which can produce big savings.

  9. First, those guys at really need a better website. I’ve got high-speed and gave up trying to navigate it after 3 minutes.

    I am glad this subject came up here. I was talking about this with friends the other night and they thought I was crazy and that no one would go for green roofs around here. But imagine getting a volunteer corps of neighbors to build rooftop gardens and small scale solar farms! It would be so incredible to have a Shaw farmers market or mobile co-op that sells the veggies and herbs harvested from gardens and greenhouses. I’m no engineer but sureley this is possible.

  10. another easy way to do a “green” roof is to install a White Polymer roof if you currently have a rubber roof. It may not do wonders for your house in terms of energy savings, but it greatly helps reduce what they call Urban Heat Sink, by helping reflect heat away from the ground instead of absorbing it with your typical black rubber roof.


  11. I was told the same thing about green roofs and rowhouses a couple of years back.

    We have a heavy furnace-A/C “package unit” on our roof, and although the roof itself isn’t strong enough to support it, it safely rests on two steel I-beams which in turn rest (just at their ends) on our side walls. Maybe you could suspend a partial green roof by the same method? Not sure what material you’d use underneath the soil–you don’t want the bottom rotting or rusting or just giving way and dumping all the dirt on your roof.

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