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Roof Down

Although green roofs are all the rage in Europe, many people out west might not have ever heard of them. “A synonym would be a vegetative roof; in some areas, they call them eco roofs,” explains Mark Fusco, senior horticulturalist for the Denver Botanic Gardens. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: roofs supplemented with a soil-replacing planting media and supporting plant life on tops of buildings. The point is to reduce heating and cooling costs and decrease stormwater runoff.

The DBG has its own green roof; it’s being used to research which of some fifty different species of plants are best for our Colorado climate. Today, the Gardens hosts the first annual Green Roofs for the West Symposium, taking place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We will be covering a little bit of research on the functionality of green roofs and how they go far beyond the aesthetic,” Fusco says. “We’ll be covering the design of a green roof, how it’s designed and how they could be designed in the future, with a focus on what are the requirements for the Western states that make them a little bit different than green roofs in New York or Chicago.”

The symposium costs $125 in advance and $140 at the door; student tickets (with valid ID) are available for $30, and all tickets include breakfast, lunch and beverages. The Gardens are at 1005 York Steet; call 720-865-3500 or visit To learn more about green roofs in Colorado, visit
Thu., June 18, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 2009


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