Green Building Starts at the Top

Aug. 4, 2008

News Highlights 

  • Green roof demonstration project planted on top of Herrity Building parking garage.
  • Green roofs reduce stormwater runoff into creeks, streams and rivers and filter out pollutants.
  • Project supports Fairfax County's Cool Counties initiative and green building policy.

More Information 

Fairfax County unveiled its latest green initiative today on top of the Herrity Building parking garage at the Government Center complex in Fairfax.

This green roof demonstration project will help the county better design such eco-friendly roofs in the future. Green roofs, which are gardens planted on top of buildings and garages, produce many environmental benefits. A green roof reduces stormwater runoff, keeps buildings cooler in the summer and absorbs air pollutants.

"Consistent with our Cool Counties initiative, this is another example of the county’s commitment to green building and environmental protection," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly. "Green roofs are just one of the many innovative techniques we’re using to reduce greenhouse gases, improve water quality and reduce energy consumption."

green roof structure
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roof garden
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Ribbon Cutting
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This demonstration project also directly supports the county’s green building policy adopted earlier this year. The policy requires that county buildings be constructed to meet minimum green building standards, if not exceed them.

Last year, Fairfax County also pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The county led the development of the national Cool Counties initiative, along with the Sierra Club and other local government partners.

The green roof will be monitored to see how much stormwater and pollution it absorbs. It will be compared against an unplanted area on the opposite side of the garage. Water samples will show how many pollutants are captured by the green roof, such as phosphorous, nitrogen and heavy metals. Without a green roof, these pollutants would run off into local creeks and streams.

The project combines two kinds of green roofs — extensive and intensive. An extensive roof uses low-growing, drought-tolerant vegetation planted in shallow soil. An intensive roof contains deep soil, allowing for a wider choice of plants, including trees. Most intensive green roofs encourage public access for recreational and aesthetic uses.

For more information about this demonstration project, contact Irene Haske, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Stormwater Management Division, at 703-324-5821, TTY 711.


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)

Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.

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