Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Cherry Capital Foods Get a Green Roof

When it comes to being “green,” every little bit counts.

And for one Traverse City company, they’re showing their commitment to the environment from floor to ceiling, even taking it to the roof. 

In today’s Sightseeing in Northern Michigan, a sight we hope to see more often.

“Cherry Capital Foods purchased the Glacier Dome, a former hockey arena as well as a former event venue and multiple tenants over the years. So it’s an old building that we are trying to re-purpose into a food distribution and hub for food processing,” explains Evan Smith of Cherry Capital Foods

It’s typical to look around a construction sight and see this — unfinished rooms, clutter, people working, framing things, joining steel together, and putting dirt on the roof?

“One of the things we discovered while looking at the building is that the dome itself created both opportunities and challenges for the ice and the water and storm mitigation, and so we started looking for solutions for that and discovered that really the best choice was to go with a green roof.”

Enter Nate Griswold and his crew from Inhabitect

“One of our specialties is green roofs, and that’s what we are putting together here at Cherry Capital Foods. I’ve worked very closely with them and the architect throughout the entire process of the project. We’ve helped them select the proper plants and proper drainage systems for their needs as well as the paver system here on the patio.”

Nate has been installing green roofs all over the country for about a decade. 

Here’s how it works. “Here we have six inches of closed cell insulation. We have your drainage and retention layer above that. This sits right below the growing media or soil, and will hold water in the cups as well as allow the water to drain underneath here into our surface drains below.

“Next layer is the filter fabric which goes over your drainage and that helps keep the soil, which is an engineered, light weight growing media, in place and from going down into your drain. And then on top of it we have your plantings. In this case, we have what’s called a sedum carpet or sedum tile.

“Depending on the depth of the growing media and the type of drainage that you have below it can hold up to 50% of yearly rainfall, so all the rain that falls over the course of a year 50% will never go to a drain. “

Then, when it’s all put together, “right out here on this roof, here you’ll be able to plant vegetables as an employee here. Then come out and use this space and then pick your own tomatoes and lettuce and make your own salad during lunch. There’s not that many places where you get to do that.”

“So besides the fact we have storm mitigation and we’re creating a better environment, our employees are going to be able to come out here and take advantage of a very nice space for meeting, for lunch, for breaks, for client entertainment. It really gives us an opportunity to showcase how a creative approach for problem solving benefits everyone.”

Want to learn more about green roof systems? Click here

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