Topping It Off, Green Style

“Going green” is becoming a marketing win for hotels. It also can save money: switching to compact fluorescents can greatly reduce electricity use and the bulbs can last more than five times as long as conventional ones. While such measures are visible, others, like green roofing systems, are not. Intensive green garden roofs with thick, deep soil and large plants and shrubs are featured at many hotels. More common are light, easily supportable extensive systems that call for two to six inches of soil formulated for small, hearty garden plants and grasses. Traditionally, growth media and vegetation are installed directly on the roof.

Care and maintenance

For at least the first 30 days, irrigation and maintenance are required for extensive green roofs. But within a few months, the roof should need little care or irrigation.

Energy savings

In summer, a conventional roof can reach temperatures exceeding 180 degrees Fahrenheit. A green roof helps protect from the sun's rays, maintaining moderate temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees year ‘round. This can halve the energy necessary to cool the floors directly below the roof in summer and heat them in winter.

Storm water management

Storm water can become runoff, catching pollutants as it drains into overtaxed treatment plants. Green roofs minimize and slow this for better management and may eliminate the need for elaborate plumbing systems.

Extended roof life

The cost of replacing a typical roof on a commercial property can average $5 per square foot every 15 to 20 years. Studies suggest green roofs can double roof life, cutting this expense by half.

Marketing “green” is proving a draw for many hotel properties. Saving money while marketing a hotel is music to the ears of most hotel owners. Circle 120

Jim Lindell is the GreenGrid Green Roofs national marketing manager. GreenGrid is a business of Weston Solutions, Inc. Lindell can be reached at

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