Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



We Are All Hobbits Now: U.S Navy Greens Up with Turf Covered Roof

U.S. Navy is installing an energy efficient green roof at Naval Station NorfolkThe Army has a green roof and the Air Force has a green roof, so it was only a matter of time before the Navy got its green roof, too.  Construction on a new energy efficient green roof at Naval Station Norfolk just got under way earlier this month.  In addition to the value of a plant-covered roof for saving money through energy conservation, the Navy’s press release describes a downright Hobbit-like extra benefit, “the formation of a living environment that provides habitats for birds and other small animals…[and] an attractive alternative to traditional roofs.”


Shades of the Shire! The habitat angle is not an isolated one for the U.S. Military.  Wildlife conservation at military bases across the U.S. has become a point of focus for the Department of Defense as part of an increased concentration on environmental stewardship overall.  Though Naval Station Norfolk is far from being a pristine rural area, its new green roof can help demonstrate the value and viability of green roof micro-habitats in high density industrialized civilian areas as well as military installations.

Green Roofs and Sustainability

A green roof is simply a layer of soil and vegetation that covers part or all of the waterproof membrane of a conventional roof.  Green roofs can range from lightweight, ultra low maintenance coverings of hardy grass and succulents to elaborate gardens and landscaping. The economic value of green roofs has been well documented and they are becoming commonplace in Europe.  As insulators, they save on heating and cooling costs.  They trap stormwater, which helps the property owner reduce utility costs and can help reduce local flooding.  They also protect the surface of the underlying roof membrane, which saves money on periodic roof repair and replacement.  As for the environmental and public health benefits, green roofs enhance community health by reducing the summertime “heat island” effect caused by bare roofs, and they reduce smog by trapping pollutants including carbon dioxide.

Green Roofs in the U.S.A.

Despite all of these advantages, green roofs have been slow to catch on in the U.S. compared to Europe.  Perhaps their wider adoption by the armed forces will encourage more builders and planners in the civilian sector to view green roofs as a sensible, economic alternative to traditional construction.  Capt. Kelly M. Johnson, Commanding Officer of Naval Station Norfolk, noted that a green roof makes a building “more self-sustaining” and less reliant on the energy grid, “benfitting not only Naval Station but the entire Navy.”  That same advantage would apply equally to office buildings and any other civilian structure, as illustrated by the gigantic new Department of Defense office complex in Virginia, which is aiming to achieve LEED Gold certification for environmental design in part with a green roof perched squarely atop the new Visitor Center.

Image: U.S. Navy by mashleymorgan on

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


You May Also Like


Woke or not, the US Army has invested $10 million in new silicon battery technology.


The US Army is testing a new flow battery that can suck up wind and solar energy like a high tech vacuum.

Green Economy

In another bad sign for fossil energy stakeholders, the apparel industry supply chain is focusing more attention on recycling pre-consumer and post-consumer petrochemicals.


The US Army is pursuing new silicon energy storage technology for light weight, long lasting portable batteries.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.