Bright-Minded Home – March 2013

By Melissa Coleman

Q+A with Robin Moody about the vegetated roof on his home at Pemaquid Pond.

Designed by Chris Briley of Green Design Studios, this wood, stone, and glass home features a tight building envelope and energy recovery ventilator (ERV), passive solar siting, a 90-tube solar thermal array that provides all the hot water and contributes to the radiant heating, and a notable 2,600-square-foot vegetated roof. We checked in especially to see how the roof has been performing.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about your roof?
A: We like the fact that rainwater is partly absorbed and released by the roof over time, so excess runoff doesn’t pollute the nearby lake, and that it’s a natural insulator in winter and respires in summer to keep the interior cool. We also find the roof beautiful, even in winter when everything is brown, and we love when it flowers at different times of the year—sometimes the flowers are yellow and sometimes pink.

Q: Was it complicated to install?
A: The builders and engineers know how to build for weight, and the roof is sealed with the same materials as any roof. The fast-draining, low-nutrient, drought-resistant alpine sedum arrived on a truck from Xero Flor in slabs that were simply laid out like a suburban lawn.

Q: Have you had to do any maintenance?
A: We did water it in its first year, but haven’t had to since. I’m told the root system is so dense that weeds and other plants can’t thrive, though I have seen the occasional infiltrator. Some parts of the roof where the sun is restricted look a little thin, and may need replanting with time, but we’ve had no leakage or problems with the weight.

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