LiveRoof installed atop Grand Haven Community Center

Much like putting together pieces of a puzzle, installers pieced together the new "green' roof at the Grand Haven Community Center on Wednesday. "We basically start in one corner, put down a row, and just keep putting down row after row after row,' Hortech owner Dave MacKenzie said.
Alex Doty
Jun 23, 2011

The installation of the LiveRoof, a product of Spring Lake’s Hortech, was made possible by a Clean Michigan Initiative grant administered by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. The DEQ grant will fund half of the nearly $60,000 project, while the other 50 percent will come from a grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.

MacKenzie said the roof’s material is made up of a variety of different plants that will grow every year.

“It’s a mixture of about 10 different sedums that are all succulent cold and heat tolerant perennials,” he said. “They’ll last indefinitely. Those plants will likely be there 60-to-70 years from now.”

The middle sections of the LiveRoof also has alliums, which are related to onions. They will give the roof some vertical accents as they flower at different heights.

MacKenzie said while the green roof is there now, people will really notice the plants next year.

“This roof, because it was propagated this year, will flower somewhat. But next year it will really explode. You will see a host of flowers next year,” he said. “If we have 10,000 flowers this year, we’re going to have a couple of million next year.”

The roof is equipped with an irrigation system that will be used about once per week, MacKenzie said. He said the roof does not need it to survive unless there is a long period of drought.

“Caring for this roof is very important, but it’s not very time consuming,” MacKenzie said.

Every two weeks, he said employees will have to check for weeds and other invasive plants and remove them.

“It’s kind of like a dandelion, you want to catch it before it flowers and re-seeds,” he said, adding that it will take about two hours of maintenance for a whole year.

Along with providing a new visual for people utilizing the conference and banquet rooms at the community center, the roof will also benefit the building.

“Part of the cost savings with this roof is the reduction of air conditioning costs,” MacKenzie said. “In addition to that, the (roof) membrane that’s on here, instead of lasting for 20 years, it’s likely to last 60 or more years.”

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