Learning how to make the right material choices, without compromising sustainability
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Fabrics play a critical role in the design of many types of green roofs. It is important to be aware of several important considerations. Geotextiles can be used to drain, filter, reinforce, separate and protect elements of green roof designs. When used, fabrics should be checked for their ability to retain at least 90% of growth media in place, the permeability or flow through rate of rainwater, the weight of the fabric when saturated, the texture of the geotextile and its resistance to fire. If you cannot find test results for a fabric you would like to use, consult with green roof system providers or consultants who have used the same fabric in landscape applications. Designing mock-up sections of green roofs is another alternative to investigate the performance of a custom application. With the changing dynamics of the building environment, architects, landscape architects and engineers will continue to need to learn about and help bring about green building innovations. As green building continues to increase in popularity, green roofs are likely to continue to grow in popularity as well. Green building recognition programs such as LEED, have already bumped up a green roof's contribution from 1 point toward certification in LEED version 1.0 to up to 15 points possibly contributing to a project now with LEED version 2.3. In the future, we can only anticipate the critical role that fabrics play in the function and design of green roofs will continue to sustain and support the emerging culture of green roof technology.
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