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As part of an ongoing effort to reduce energy consumption at the Pentagon, Huntsville Center program managers looked at the possibility of installing a vegetative roof.

Huntsville Center’s Installation Support and Programs Management Directorate’s Base Operations Facilities and Energy Branch was asked by the Washington headquarters Services to conduct the feasibility study on select roof areas of the Pentagon.

“The BFE team was specifically asked to execute the feasibility study to determine whether the existing Pentagon roof could structurally handle the increased weight of the vegetative roof, and whether or not an adequate drainage system could be installed to handle rain runoff,” Virgil Green, the project manager, said.

Green said the green roof concept is not new, but a new deployment of an older technology. Vegetative roofs serve several purposes for a building, such as absorbing rainwater, improving insulation, creating a habitat for wildlife, improving facility aesthetics and helping to lower surrounding air temperatures.

Chip Marin, BFE branch chief, said vegetative roofs are sometimes referred to as a “green roof” or “living roof” and is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane.

The study was based on installing approximately 4 to 6 inches of soil and low or no maintenance regional vegetation. Although the study was completed at the end of December, Marin said the initial findings are unfortunately that the current structural capacity of the Pentagon roof cannot handle the load demands of a vegetative roof so the project cannot be executed. The team determined it is not feasible from a financial, structural and energy efficiency point of view. A final assessment report is expected in January.

In spite of these findings, Marin said he and his team are optimistic about performing more of these type assessments in the future.

“This was a great opportunity for us. Our being asked by Pentagon Services to conduct the study allowed us an opportunity to showcase some of the great technical products and contracting platforms available at Huntsville Center,” Marin said. “We executed this task via an in-house Architectural and Engineering Multiple Award Task Order Contract managed by the Facilities Repair and Renewal Program. We’d like more opportunities like this.”

For more information about the Base Operations Facilities and Energy Branch, call 895-1141.

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