5 Benefits of a Green Roof (In Addition To Environmental Friendliness)

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Eco-roofs, or green roofs, have continued to sprout up in residential neighborhoods throughout the U.S. over the last decade. Their burgeoning popularity largely stems from the environmental benefits they offer – such as stormwater retention, improved air quality, and assistance mitigating the urban heat island effect.

These low-maintenance wonders are populated with drought-resistant plants that require infrequent watering and weeding only once or twice annually, and the utility savings they yield quickly offset the higher upfront costs associated with installation.

The benefits of green roofs extend beyond environmental friendliness, however. Here are five additional reasons to consider coverage up high:

  • Aesthetic appeal: Gravel, tar, and asphalt roofing materials are dull, at best, and eyesores at worst. Green roofs, however, offer an unexpected and uplifting burst of nature in a space that might otherwise go untouched and unnoticed. They have been credited with inspirational and psychological benefits, as well, helping to foster relaxation and reduce stress levels, while instilling a sense of pride throughout a community or neighborhood.
  • Longer lifespan: Green roofs are said to double or triple the life of your roof. Their multiple layers – first, a waterproofing membrane followed by a root barrier, soil, and plants – offer protection from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, temperature fluctuations, wind, rain, and other elemental attacks that can cause standard roofing materials to expand, shrink, and deteriorate, while the plants and vegetation act as a natural insulator.
  • Cooling properties: Because of this added insulation, benefits of a green roof include a more efficient cooling process for your home. The waterproof membrane that serves as a base for your green roof cuts down on the amount of heat entering the building. This reduces the temperature of your roof, which cools your home, and ultimately eases the strain placed on your air conditioning unit.
  • Reduced noise pollution: Your green roof’s plant life, soil, and substrate can absorb ambient and intrusive sounds created by machinery, traffic, airplanes, and more.
  • A secondary home: The benefits of a green roof are not strictly limited to the people in your neighborhood. The vegetation and plant life also provide a habitat for butterflies, birds, and insects that have been ousted from their former homes as a result of urban development.

Is a green roof in your future? At McHale Landscape Design, our horticulturists can help you select a striking selection of plants – such as wildflowers, succulents, grasses, and herbs – that thrive in only a few inches of soil and will be able to withstand the harsh elements up top. Residential green roofs are an increasingly viable and exciting option for homeowners to expand upon their landscape design, and we can help. Contact us today to schedule a home consultation.

McHale Runoff Woes Offer an Eco-Friendly Opportunity

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Protecting the Chesapeake Bay and preserving its natural aquatic ecosystem is an enduring goal for those living and working near Washington, D.C.

As conservation minded professionals, McHale Landscape Design must anticipate any and all environmental effects on Maryland’s critical areas to ensure that our multiple projects near the Bay or the Eastern shore meet and exceed all regulations and best practices. Whether we’re removing invasive plant material, restoring a native buffer or orchestrating storm water management, the preservation of these critical areas is tantamount to our goals.

McHale recently had an opportunity to prove its mettle as a steward of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed when our crew took part in a water erosion control project at our main office facility.

Two pre-existing opportunities made the project both possible and necessary: controlled runoff from our property to an existing drainage inlet (non-point source pollution), and uncontrolled runoff from a neighboring property (point-source).

Our runoff previously had been contained and mitigated by a gravel-lined swale that provided removal of suspended solids before reaching a storm drain. However, planning for a new parking lot to expand our fleet provided the impetus to improve our storm water management measures, and create a space that was functional, educational, and beautiful.

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Runoff from the neighbor adjacent to us was also severe. It was being pumped directly to our property and had begun affecting the properties below us. In the interest of being both neighborly and environmentally aware, we devised a storm water management plan that would mitigate runoff through catchment, filtration, and an aesthetically pleasing conveyance system.

To control the runoff from our neighbor, the McHale crew installed a catchment pond at the top of the system with enough holding capacity for a 1″ storm. In the event of additional water, the outfalls will flow into the rest of the system and provide stabilized conveyance during a larger storm event.

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To mitigate the runoff from our property to the existing drainage inlet, we implemented planted buffers and a step pool conveyance system. This system, too, was sized for a 1” storm, and incorporated plantings to stabilize and filter runoff. Swales and ponds were planted with native species that were both water loving and visually enticing, including River Birch, Bald Cypress, Iris , Clethra and Itea.

More water is now held on McHale’s main site, while water leaving the property is much, much cleaner. Our efforts increased water quality while decreasing runoff quantity, and eliminated downstream issues.

Overall, it was a storm water management success story.

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McHale Receives Honors for Sustainable Landscaping Efforts

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At McHale Landscape Design, each design-build project is undertaken with an eye toward sustainable landscaping. Whether populating gardens with native plants, which aid the environment by reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides, or installing green roofs that improve air quality, promote biodiversity, and conserve energy, our team remains dedicated to making clients’ homes – and their world – a better place to live.

McHale was recently recognized for our sustainable landscaping practices by being named a preferred contractor by CleanScapes in Howard County, a reimbursement program that offers financial incentives to homeowners to remediate and clean their storm water. McHale was featured in a CleanScapes power point presentation which is screened at public forums to educate residents on issues regarding runoff and its effects on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Additionally, on Feb. 27, 2016, McHale landscape designer Grace Schneider was honored during The Master Watershed Steward and Consortium Member of the Year Awards, hosted during the Watershed Stewards Academy’s annual “Spring Into Action” conference in Davidsonville, Md.

The non-profit Watershed Stewards Academy (WSA) trains and supports citizens to engage their communities in reducing pollution and restoring waterways.  Stewards work within their neighborhoods to install projects like rain gardens and conservation landscapes to capture polluted runoff.

Schneider, a Master Watershed Steward and a Consortium member, received the WSA Consortium Member of the Year Award for her input and implementation of the Clean Water Communities program in Linthicum where she served as the project manager for the installation of the RainScaping practices. She also served as an instructor of the Master Watershed Steward Certification Course and a mentor for Steward Capstone projects.

Like Schneider, conservation is the key for all professionals comprising McHale Landscape Design. We follow the standards implemented by the American Nurseryman Association and Landscape Contractors of America. The McHale team is licensed by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and Maryland Home Improvement Commission and follows every regulation, including soil test and nutrient management programs.

Contact us today to find out more about McHale’s sustainable landscaping services.

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