Omega Center for Sustainable Living's Green Roof Construction | Omega

Omega Center for Sustainable Living's Green Roof Construction

Omega Center for Sustainable Living's Green Roof Construction

The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) is an environmental education center and natural water reclamation facility built to meet the highest standards available in sustainable architecture. In this slideshow, we take a look at the construction of the OCSL's green roof.


  • The OCSL's green roof is clearly visible as you approach the building, but visitors only get a glimpse of it. The facility is a Living Building, but perhaps this is nowhere more literal than on the green roof.

  • Underneath all the plants on the OCSL's green roof is a membrane layer that helps with drainage, ensuring that the plants don't become waterlogged. 

  • Omega received a truckload of plants from White Flower Farm, in Litchfield, Connecticut. The plants are varieties of sedum, chosen for their ease of care and ability to take root and fill in any gaps that may result in the plant covering over the life of the green roof. They get mowed once a year, and require weeding. 

  • The plants were laid in on the green roof tray by tray. 

  • As the trays were put down, the team removed any gravel or sharp objects that were tracked up on the roof. This was done to ensure that the membrane wouldn't get punctured. 

  • In the next two images, you can see the construction proceeding along and get a sense of the teamwork required. Some people concentrated on moving the trays of plants, others removed gravel from the membrane, and others ensured the trays were put in properly.

  • Each tray is surrounded by a white plastic strip. On the edges of the roof these were left in, but whenever the trays touched one another they were removed, allowing the roof to grow together. 

  • The team that constructed the OCSL's green roof. Omega's head gardener, Pam Vitarius, says, "The main consideration is ensuring that the roof on which you're building can take the weight of all the plants, especially once the soil has gained weight after watering." 

  • At left is the green roof with its plants filled in, contrasted against the lush interior space of the aerated lagoons. You also get a glimpse of the recycled cypress wood on the building's exterior, as well as the skylights which help collect and reflect light into the facility. 

© 2013 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies


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