Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Green Roof Hurricane Season Arrives Soon

The 2011 Hurricane season starts in about sixty days or less, though I've recently seen tropical storms form in May.  Is your green roof ready?

The key to hurricane and cyclone preparedness for green roofs is making sure everything is permanently attached to the roof.  Under Florida Building Code requirements everything must be permanently attached to the structural roof.

Cyclone winds flowing across a flat roof create uplift like a vacuum and can pull shingles or other roofing material up into the air.  Roof accessories such as pipes, vents, skylights, green roofs, planters and HVAC units are also subject to the wind stresses and may become problematic.

Green roof hurricane preparedness involves several fairly simple and straightforward steps, including;

  • Make sure there are no loose objects on the green roof, such as pruning shears, hand trowels or other hand tools
  • Check to see if there are any dead plants or large pieces of fallen plant material and remove
  • Inspect the green roof system for integrity
    • If the green roof system is a tray system, make sure the trays and not damaged by UV degradation and ensure no loose edges are exposed
    • If the tray system is a mat system, check for loose mat edges
  • Review the underside decking in the attic for any water stains or other indicators or leaks
  • Check to make sure the underlying structure is holding its form and nto sagging fromt he weight of the green roof
  • Replace organic material and soil amendments as needed
  • Look for adjacent dead tree branches or limbs that could fall on the green roof and have removed
  • Make sure there are no mechanical system repair parts left on the roof from maintenance - you'd be surprised at what gets left on a roof - look for loose screws especially!
Well established green roof plants create turbulence across a roof surface, and may act to reduce uplift in some instances.

Cyclones are powerful forces to deal with and entering hurricane season with the green roof system in top shape is important!

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