KIB's Green Roof

KIB installed an Omni Ecosystems Comprehensive Green Roof in June of 2014. With its completion, KIB now has the third largest green roof in Indianapolis at roughly 13,000 sq. ft.

  • The Journey to a Green Roof

    Keep Indianapolis Beautiful moved to 1029 Fletcher Avenue in June, 2008. The building is essentially four warehouse spaces, with three added to the original, which was built sometime between 1914 and 1937. The additions were constructed first in the 1960’s, and again in the 1970’s.

    One strategy that KIB was unable to execute was a green roof. The original building, and its additions, use a steel truss roofing system, constructed and engineered only to support snow-loads. Handling additional weight had never been a consideration; and, to that end, to develop structural support for a green roof wasn’t economically feasible.

    In 2012, KIB met Rooftop Green Works. This company, based in Chicago, had developed a new green roofing system much lighter than traditional systems. With that meeting, it became possible to imagine KIB”s original vision of a vegetated, hyper-functional roof.

    Rooftop Green Works’ Omni-EcoStystems roof is a patented design using a lightweight media replicating native soil ecosystems. Working closely with Fink Roberts Petrie engineering, KIB only had to add modest reinforcements to its truss system to host a green roof compared to the reinforcements it would have needed in 2008.

  • A Comprehensive System

    Omni Ecosystems redesigned the green roof installation process. To accommodate our building and the existing infrastructure, they developed a “Comprehensive System”.

    • Extensive green roofs are lightweight, low maintenance but grow only a few types of plants.
    • Intensive green roofs grow many types of plants but are heavy and high maintenance.
    • Comprehensive green roofs allow for many plant varieties seen in intensive green roofs while weighing less than a typical extensive green roof. Click here to learn what is planted on our green roof.
  • Green Roof Assembly

    Omni Ecosystems used the “Built-in-place” (BIP) version of installation. This system grows over a period of time instead of having full vegetation upon installation. BIP consists of many components that promote vegetation growth and is more cost effective than pre-planted systems; such as:

    • Root Barrier: protects roof from root penetration
    • Capillary Mat: distributes water evenly throughout the roof system
    • Tray: made from biodegradable materials, these trays without a bottom, these allow for the interchange of water
    • Filter Fabric: hold growing media while allowing for roots to grow through
    • Growing Media: 95% perlite clay and 5% natural soil mix containing microorganisms and nutrients
    • Topical and Subsurface Irrigation: Distributes water to where the plants need it
  • The Irrigation System

    The irrigation system is important for the maintenance and survival of plant life on the green roof. The irrigation system of KIB’s roof uses very little water overall but assures plants and soil life continue to thrive.

    • The capillary mat wicks water to roots beneath the surface of the growing media.
    •  A topical mist spray distributes water to plant leaves and is highly-efficient.
    • Water quantity is dependent on rainfall, temperature, wind speed, humidity, plant selection and the stage of plant development.
  • Benefits of a Green Roof

    Compared to KIB’s previous White Roof, installing a Green Roof has many benefits to both the facility and nature around us.

    • Stormwater Runoff: A green roof acts like a sponge, taking in water as it rains and releasing it to the plant life in the system, which prevents spiking in water levels in cities’ stormwater runoff systems.
      Since 2008, KIB’s stormwater mitigation strategies, including permeable pavement and a cistern, have captured 42% of stormwater that falls on KIB grounds, filtering it and recharging neighborhood groundwater. KIB’s addition of a vegetated roof in 2014 has increased stormwater kept on site by 33%. Now, more than half of the stormwater that falls at KIB is naturally managed at KIB, rather than entering Indy’s combined sewer system and treatment plant.
      Stormwater Runoff Mitigation of KIB's green Roof
    • Cooling and Insulating: Plant life have a naturally cooling effect of the surrounding air,
      lowering the need for cooling inside the building.
    • Decreasing Energy Usage: Studies show air conditioning loads can be reduced as much as 25% with the addition of a green roof.
    • Decreasing Noise: Noises bounce off of flat, hard surfaces such as the previous KIB roof. Covering surfaces with plant life dampens that sound.
    • Increasing Biodiversity: A goal of KIB with the installation of the green roof is to provide a natural space full of local Indiana prairie for local pollinators and creating a biodiverse space.