Ford Installs World’s Largest Living Roof On New Truck Plant
Ford Motor Company today completed installation of a plant-covered roof atop its new Dearborn Truck Plant final assembly building and earned global distinction for its achievement with a Guinness World RecordsTM designation for the World’s Largest Living Roof!
The 10.4-acre living roof is part of Ford’s ongoing redevelopment of the Ford Rouge Center, which includes a number of progressive environmental initiatives. The roof is composed of a drought-resistant perennial groundcover, called sedum, which is planted into a specially layered bed. Virtually maintenance-free, it can absorb up to 4 million gallons of rainwater annually and is part of a broader storm-water management system installed at the Rouge.
In addition to absorbing rainwater and carbon dioxide, the sedum roof produces oxygen and provides natural overhead insulation for the final assembly building, thereby reducing energy costs. It also is expected to last twice as long as a traditionally constructed roof.
“The living roof at the Rouge is living proof of Ford’s ongoing commitment to being an environmentally conscientious corporate citizen,” said Tim O’Brien, vice president, Corporate Relations. “Ford has taken a progressive stance on environmental issues, and with our redevelopment of the Rouge Center, we are putting our words into action. In addition, the roof and other environmental initiatives we're implementing are cost effective. Year after year, they will save us money, as well as conserve resources.”
“The living roof and the restoration of natural areas and habitats within this 600-acre complex are part of an intricate storm-water management system,” added Jay Richardson, Rouge Center redevelopment manager. “This system will provide an added benefit to the southeast Michigan community by improving the quality of ground water and storm-water runoff flowing into the Rouge River.”
Other than the watering required during its early growth stage, the living roof is maintenance free, requiring no mowing or trimming. On average, the succulent sedum plants grow only 6 inches tall and spread horizontally, crowding out weeds and other undesirable plants. When fully developed, the roof will resemble a meadow with varying lengths of growth and small red, white, yellow and purple flowers.
Rather than being planted in loose soil, sedum on the living roof grows on a four-layer, mat-like system that is only 3 inches thick. The bottom layer is a root-resistant membrane, followed by a drainage layer, a fleece mat, a vegetation blanket of semi-organic material and finally sedum plants.
When rain falls on the living roof, it is absorbed or filtered through the plant roots and soil bed. Excess runoff then is directed into an intricate storm-water management system composed of filtering rock beds and ground-level plantings; ditches filled with greenery, called swales; porous pavement installations; retention ponds; and underground storage basins.