The nation’s first green roof and labyrinth in this ever-greener city opened today at the top of an eight-story office building one block northwest of Union Station.
The green roof – on top of a building at 10 G Street, NE owned by the American Psychological Association (APA) – will be open to the public as a peaceful respite from the busy city and nearby Capitol Hill.
“This collaborative effort is part of our overall mission to create open spaces that heal the body, mind, and spirit,” said Mary Wyatt, executive director of TKF Foundation, the lead funder for the project. “We are gratified to be a leader in providing this innovative green space to all those who wish to have a place for reflection during the course of a work day.”
The roof was formally opened today during a book-release party for Open Spaces, Sacred Places, co- authored by TKF Foundation President Tom Stoner and Carolyn Rapp. The book chronicles the evolution of 12 sites from among the more than 120 spaces that the foundation has helped renew through funding and support.
Small plants called sedum and the labyrinth—an ancient tool for meditation that has in recent years seen a resurgence in popularity – cover 3,600 square feet of the building’s roof. The $170,000 project received additional funding from the APA, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), and the World Resources Institute (WRI).
“The green roof fits with our mission to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives,” said Nancy Kiefer, facility director at WRI, whose offices occupy the top two floors in the building. “Our staff was so excited about the possibility of a green roof that many of them made personal contributions to the project.”
The idea sprouted a few years ago when CBF approached APA about applying for a grant to construct a green roof on one of its buildings. The building at 10 G Street was a perfect candidate since WRI is such a major tenant.
Dr. Norman B. Anderson, CEO of APA, said, “In addition to helping APA become a more green organization, this green roof project is consistent with our ongoing commitment to being a ‘healthy company,’ both physically and psychologically. I am personally a big fan of walking a labyrinth as a mindfulness meditation tool.”
William Baker, president and CEO of CBF, added, “Green roofs like this can significantly protect storm sewers from being overloaded during heavy storms. That, in turn, protects local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay from becoming more polluted with the runoff.”
More than 55,000 square feet of green roofs were installed in Washington D.C. in 2007, helping place it seventh in rankings by Greenroofs.com for cities with the most green-roof square footage in the country. Last year, 30 percent more green roofs were installed in North America representing a 5 percent increase over the 25 percent growth of 2006.
Green roofs provide a host of psychological and financial benefits, including cleaner air, cooler cities, reduced energy consumption, cleaner rivers and streams, and more beautiful urban landscapes.