The project is another initiative in efforts by ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, to transform its headquarters into one of the most energy-efficient and sustainable structures possible with existing technology, according to Joanna Brosnan. She directs ACS’s Facilities Department and is author of the ACS Green Roof Blog.
“Green roofs really are meadows-on-the-roof,” Brosnan explained. “When completed in the autumn, the Hach Building roof will sprout a garden consisting of a specialized mix of plants that thrive in the harsh, dry, hot conditions that exist at roof level. We will have wildflowers, grasses, and water-storing, drought-resistant flowering sedums.”
“These roofs have many environmental advantages that contribute to sustainability,” she said. “Green roofs absorb carbon dioxide from the air, save energy on heating and cooling, promote cleaner air, ease the urban ‘heat-island effect’, and reduce storm water runoff that can overburden city sewers.”
The full benefits of green roofs are described in the ACS journal, Environmental Science & Technology, in a paper, Scaling of Economic Benefits from Green Roof Implementation in Washington, D.C. Only 1 in 10 office buildings in the Washington, D.C., area have green roofs.
The green roof is the latest in a series of projects to make the Hach building a more sustainable structure. ACS in 2008, for instance, gave the Hach building a white roof with white coatings that reflect the sun and help reduce energy consumption associated with summer cooling. Some of those efforts received national honors. In 2009, the ACS was awarded Gold Certification for the ACS Hach building in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Existing Building: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EB O&M) program, sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC is the nation’s leading non-profit authority for green buildings and is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Hach Building an Energy Star rating each year since 2006 for energy efficiency.
The Society also is deeply involved with protecting the environment through its ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI), which works to promote green chemistry and green engineering in all aspects of the global chemical enterprise.