If you’ve been by the library in the last couple of months, you’ve likely noticed all the development taking place to install a new green roof at the courthouse! The CCLA Library staff is a fairly environmentally-minded bunch (our front desk area may be a tad reminiscent of a greenhouse) and so we were pretty excited when the news was first announced. Lately, contractors have been walking around outside our windows working on the roof, and we’ve been able to track their progress. So far, there’s just been a whole lot of digging and moving around of concrete slabs, but we’re hoping the roof will be green and growing before the end of the summer. To quench some of the anticipation, I’ve been doing a little bit of research into some of the benefits of green roofs. Apparently they do nifty things like:

–  extend roof life by providing structural protection; green roofs last about twice as long as conventional roofs!

–  reduce heating and cooling costs; just imagine the difference between the temperature of your driveway and the temperature of your lawn on a summer day

–  provide sound insulation, reducing noise; certainly ideal for a library

–  create a beautiful aesthetic space while improving employee and client morale; many green roofs can also be used for meeting and recreational purposes

–  raise the profile and property value of a building in the community

–  assist in storm water retention and management

–  expand and promote green space while reducing dust and smog in the environment

–  provide a natural habitat for wildlife in urban areas

–  provide opportunities to grow flowers, plants, and food

Green roofs and green building design have really been catching on in North America in the last decade or so, and they’re already very common in many European countries. Did you know that Toronto recently created a green roof by-law that makes green roofs required on new buildings? While we’re not quite there yet, it’s wonderful to see some change happening here in Ottawa, as well.

All of the above benefits are certainly grounds for excitement. However, the really big news for both the library staff, and you, our library users, is that one of the large green roof sections is directly outside of the main library window. This means that we’ll all be able to gaze out onto the green roof while reading or working in the library!

These changes have really inspired me to look into other ways that we can make the library more green. I’ll keep you posted, on the roof and any of our own progress. For now, I’m just really happy to be working in a building that is a leader in Ottawa’s green movement.

If you’d like to learn more about green roofs, check out http://greenroofs.org.