May 14, 2012 – Jeremiah Johnson, from Advanced Green Architecture, is clearly passionate about green roofs.
â€śThere are so many benefits,â€ť Johnson said. â€śDid you know they can make roof membranes last several times longer than if they were exposed to the elements? There are roofs over in Europe–where green roofing really came from–that are 100 years old and still going strong.â€ť The words often tumble out of him as though a dam has finally burst.
But more and more builders, architects, and companies who occupy buildings are starting to feel what Jeremiah is feeling, with good reason.
Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Advanced Green Architecture is hard to pigeonhole. â€śWeâ€™re, at least in large part, landscape architects,â€ť Johnson said. â€śBut we also manufacture a patent-pending green roof system that makes what we do possible. So, weâ€™re kind of a hybrid of sorts.â€ť
The company took what it already did–landscape architecture–and took it to a whole new level. Literally. â€śThese days everyoneâ€™s looking for new ways to work with the environment,â€ť Johnson said. â€śGreen roofs do that by cutting heating and cooling costs, and by turning ugly roofs into nice little parks in the air.â€ť
So what is green roofing, anyway?
Most of us have heard of green roofing, but what exactly is it? Johnson says that can vary widely.
â€śA green roof can have anywhere from 2 to 18 inches of a special kind of soil that we use in these applications, and may have grassy areas, bushes, perennials, and even trees.â€ť
The possibilities, he says, are endless and depend on a variety of factors, including what the structure can safely bear and budget.
One of the projects AGA is most proud of certainly wasnâ€™t its biggest, but Johnson feels that it turned out particularly well. â€śThe CRC (Christian Reformed Church) job was nice because it was a great example of biodiversity. That roof offers a wonderful environment for birds, bugs, and plants, and I think we did a nice job of dealing with drainage and integrating it into the overall design.â€ť
How can you benefit from green roofing?
Johnson says that about 70 percent of his customers seek the practical benefits, including energy efficiency, reduced roof maintenance, and storm water management. â€śDid you know that, depending on the roof system you choose, â€śJohnson said, â€śthe plants can use up to 80 to 90 percent of all rain water? What weâ€™re really doing is creating a little, self-contained ecosystem that has tremendous benefits for the building it sits on.â€ť
For all of its practical benefits, a green roof also has more recreational uses. â€śSome companies, maybe an increasing number, are considering these designs as part of their green space, giving associates and tenants a place to have a relaxing lunch or even take a walk,â€ť Johnson said. â€śThis makes usable, cost-effective real estate from essentially nothing.â€ť
Why AGA chose iSqFt
AGAâ€™s most effective keyword:Â Vegetative Roofs
Johnson recognizes that the field AGA works in is new and still unfamiliar to a lot of potential clients, which makes finding every opportunity vital. Thatâ€™s why he talked with iSqFt. â€śI was talking with someone at [The Greenbuild Conference] who said his company used and loved iSqFt,â€ť Johnson said. â€śThat started the ball rolling, and within just a few days after trying it out, we were really impressed not only with the number of project leads, but the amount of information in just about all of them.â€ť
Oh, and AGA also won a job in Alabama in those first few days on iSqFt. â€śYeah, that was pretty great,â€ť Johnson said. â€śHey, it sure beats cold-calling.â€ť
Johnson wants people to know that green roofs are a low-maintenance, high-ROI way to make your building not only more attractive, but more efficient as well.
â€śWait, can I change my answer?â€ť Johnson jokes. â€śWhat I really want people to know is our phone number.â€ť
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