Green Justice: Ottawa Courthouse to get Green Roof

ottawa courthouse workers

In terms of holistic green design, passive design is a burgeoning building ideology. Looking to a building’s very design to improve its performance is a vital step in creating a space that produces few little emissions or operates off the traditional grid.

While renewable technologies and green innovations have traditionally led the trend toward environmental responsibility, standards have increased now that green building is becoming a common sector in the mainstream industry in Canada.

Taking an organic approach to the green aesthetic, the simple practice of implementing green roofs – lining rooftops with grass and vegetation – may seem to offer primarily aesthetic appeal, but it is highly functional as well. Acting as a natural and organic insulator, green roofs can drastically alter interior environments, taking added pressure off heating and cooling systems.

For these reasons, the Ottawa Courthouse is undergoing a $5 million green roof renovation. Stretching over 70,000 square feet, this monolithic green space, once completed, will be staggered over 26 levels of the courthouses’ rooftops.

green roof technology

The six inches of added rooftop dirt and flora is expected to cut annual cooling costs for the building by a whopping $23,000.

According to Ontario Minister for Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli, not only does the green roof offer both functional and economic positive elements, it also tightens the city’s social fabric, with the green roof creating a community for both visitors and employees of the building.

“It’s a very attractive people place,” says Chiarelli. “I’m sure employees are wondering when they can start eating their lunch out here.”

The development is the first of many under Ontario’s Build Together scheme, which focuses on building sustainable and maintainable infrastructure across Ontario. The practice of green roofing buildings is set to spread across the region, bringing with it positive results for economic growth, building aesthetics and social development.

By Emily D’Alterio
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