ASLA Dedicates New Green Roof at Washington, D.C. Headquarters

DC Council Chair Participates in Ceremony

The ASLA Green Roof. Photo by Sam Brown, Sam Brown Photography

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2006—The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) dedicated the new green roof on its Washington, D.C., headquarters today. The Honorable Linda Cropp, Chair of the District of Columbia City Council, participated in the ceremony.

Also on hand were Steven Peck, president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, an organization that promotes the green roof industry throughout North America, and Michael Van Valkenburgh, FASLA, the landscape architect who led the design process. Nancy Somerville, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA, and Dennis Carmichael, FASLA, president of ASLA also offered remarks.

"Landscape architects are leading many green roof projects across the U.S. and abroad, so it's only fitting that ASLA provide a demonstration project on this sustainable technology that can cure so many urban ills," said Somerville. "We hope to provide a catalyst for more green roof development in Washington and beyond."

“This project will be a highly visible demonstration of the many practical benefits of green roofs for communities, for building owners, and for tenants," said Carmichael. "For the city of Washington, ASLA's green roof will help clean the air and bring us closer to compliance with the federal Clean Air Act, which in turn will release more transportation funds to the city. It will reduce and clean stormwater runoff, which sometimes overwhelms our infrastructure and eventually flows into the Chesapeake Bay. It will reduce the urban heat island effect, which can be a serious problem in the summer and will even restore a tiny part of the biohabitat for birds, insects, and plants. On a practical level for ASLA, it will increase our property value, lower our building's energy costs, and provide an amenity for our staff and a nice view for our neighbors in taller buildings around us. Can you imagine the cumulative effect if other, larger downtown Washington building owners join us in this effort?"

To help track these environmental effects, ASLA has installed monitoring equipment on the 3,300-square-foot roof and will track stormwater runoff, water quality, and air temperature to compare with data from the conventional roof on the building next door. This data will be available on the ASLA website along with visual coverage provided by a webcam.

In addition to the environmental benefits, green roofs increase property value, reduce heating and cooling costs, and can more than double the lifespan of a roofing membrane by protecting it from sunlight and temperature variations.

The vegetation-covered roof was designed and constructed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., Conservation Design Forum, DMJM Design, Robert Silman Associates, and Forrester Construction Company. Funding for the project was provided by ASLA, with support from sponsors and product donors, as well as grants from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program.

Public tours of the ASLA green roof will be available by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays after May 15 by calling ASLA at 202-898-2444.


Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371