Next stage of green roof sprouts over downtown Lincoln

Green Roof Project - Lincoln, NELast week, Arbor Day Foundation employees took to their office rooftop with plants and vines in hand, ready to bring the next stage of their green roof project to fruition.

The first installment of the green roof took shape nearly three years ago at 12th and P Streets in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, when workers installed 7,369 square feet of green roof and planted it in sedum and native grasses.

The additions last week of trumpet vine, honeysuckle, and thunbergia complement the previous plantings and will aggressively climb to cover a now-bare cement wall and also screen the Foundation’s heating and cooling units, which are housed on the rooftop.

Arbor Day Foundation Green Roof

Arbor Day Foundation employee Amanda Barker installs vines to climb and cover a cement wall.

Major benefits of the green roof project are reduced heating and cooling costs – estimated as much as 40% savings in some places – and mitigating urban heat island effects while helping to control storm water run-off. And, thanks to an outdoor dining / observation platform, patrons of Qdoba Mexican Grill in downtown Lincoln get an up-close view of the evolving green roof project, with interpretive signs explaining the benefits.

Green roof, downtown Lincoln, NE

View of the green roof at the Arbor Day Foundation, downtown Lincoln, Nebraska.

Allison Hecker, green roof project coordinator for the Arbor Day Foundation, said she’s pleased the green roof project has found a second wind. “The project fits perfectly with what the Arbor Day Foundation is all about,” Hecker said. “In the days ahead, we’ll see a number of improvements that will really showcase the benefits of green roofs in our community.”

Some of the planned improvements include planting of other, larger plants on the rooftop, installation of planter boxes and a drip irrigation system, and completion of a second observation deck accessible from the Arbor Day Foundation building, with expected completion of later this summer.

Lincoln Journal Star Archive, August 2010: Green roof will sprout over Lincoln

Mother Earth News: Chicago, D.C. lead the way for green roofs in the U.S.

Arbor Day Foundation Greenroof - downtown Lincoln, NE

Air conditioning units on the Arbor Day Foundation rooftop will soon be concealed by vines as they climb the trellis.