Facing MSD Fees, Businesses Turn to Vegetative Roofs to Save Some “Green”
Thanks to a new trend in “green” technology, St. Louis commercial building owners and managers have found a way to offset the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s revised impervious surface charge.
“Vegetative roofs, or green roofs, as most people know them, don’t count as impervious surfaces, because they absorb rainwater,” explains Eric Kirberg, vice president of marketing for Kirberg Company, which has installed several green roofs in the St. Louis area. “And the less impervious surface area you have, the less MSD is going to charge you.”
MSD now charges customers $0.12 for every 100 square feet of impervious area, which includes driveways, other cement or asphalt-paved areas and, most recently, rooftops, which account for a significant portion of the square footage. MSD plans to increase this charge until 2014, when it will reach $0.24 per 100 square feet. With a green roof, a property owner can drastically reduce his or her monthly impervious surface charge.
Still, there’s more to green roofs than savings, Kirberg explains.
“Green roofs are as beautiful as they are practical,” he says. “They’re also great for the environment, because they reduce runoff, which might otherwise become contaminated and introduce toxic chemicals into the ground and into our storm water system.”
Preparation and maintenance of a green roof is also surprisingly simple, according to Kirberg.
“Most industrial roofs have no problem supporting the lightweight trays we install,” he explains. “And all of the species of sedum we use for green roofs are especially resistant to drought, so they’ll stay green year round.”
Kirberg Company’s most recent vegetative roofing projects include the Demun Pointe Condominiums in Clayton, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Business Instructional Facility.