Cedar Rapids condos now boast green roof - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids condos now boast green roof

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)-- A Cedar Rapids condo complex is going green, but not in a way that you might expect.  Read on to learn how they're growing a more eco-friendly building.

From the outside, Water Tower Place looks like a typical condominium complex.  But six stories up, the roof is anything but ordinary.  The Cedar Rapids residence is now home to the city's first green roof.  Six inches of soil was laid down, with trays of natural grasses, flowers, and trees added on top.

"Instead of most of the time if you have a parking lot, where the water just hits the parking lot, and immediately runs into the storm water runoff, this actually slows it down a little and gives a reservoir.  So it helps slow down run off.  Not only does it reduce run off, it slows it down so that it eventually goes to our downspout," said Cam Campbell, member of the board of directors for Water Tower Place.

The plant life is able to soak up some 70 percent more rain water than an ordinary roof, thereby limiting the amount that flows from the roof into storm sewers and eventually the Cedar River.

"Things usually start with some sort of event, and the event was the flood.  And then it was, 'What can we do to minimize our impact?'  And part of that involved the green roof.  We live next to a river.  And we're as much a part of it as the rest of the community is as well," Campbell said.

Those benefits are why the Department of Natural Resources, through the I-JOBS program, gave the project a $98,000 grant.  Matching funds were supplied by Linn County Soil & Water Conservation District loans.  And the green roof provides added perks for Water Tower Place residents.

"This type of roof increases the longevity of the roof.  You can expect 40 to 50 percent longer life out of the roof than the traditional roof we had, which was basically a membrane with some rocks on top of it," said Campbell.

The plants on the roof will also act as a natural insulator, keeping the building below warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.  Not to mention, the green roof's vegetation helps improve the quality of the air we breathe.

As part of Water Tower Place's grant, it's working with Kirkwood Community College to educate others about how to use green roof technology.  A class will be offered November 16 from 4-6:30 p.m.  The class code is CIEN-1550-7811, and it costs just $19.  To register, call Kirkwood at 319-398-1022.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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