Botanical Research Institute Gets a Living Roof

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Botanical Research Institute of Texas' new building is covered with 6,000 plants that will grow to create a "living roof."

    The scene at a Fort Worth research institute is something Henry Ford would love: a conveyor belt that takes 6,000 potted plants up to the roof.

    The Botanical Research Institute of Texas took the 70,000 square feet of empty space on top of its new $48 million building and are filling it with 6,000 trays to hold 30,000 prairie plants which together make what scientists call a "living roof."

    Bob O'Kennon, a research associate for BRIT, said there are 40 species of plants from all of over Fort Worth sinking roots into this roof.

    6,000 Plants Sink Roots Into "Green" Roof

    [DFW] 6,000 Plants Sink Roots Into "Green" Roof
    The Botanical Research Institute of Texas' new building is covered with 6,000 plants that will grow to create a "living roof."

    "We will be experimenting and tweaking it through the years," O'Kennon says.

    These plants, and the insulation underneath, will help the builidings conserve energy. The building's slanted roof, tilted south, will also help keep the buildings cool. The "living roof" conserves water in a way, by absorbing rain which would usually find its way to a storm drain.

    The tech includes the trays -- they're biodegradable, meaning the brown crosshatching currently seen at the top will fade into a fully green roof.

    "We hope that there will be very little maintenance involved past the point of establishment, so the native natural amount of rainfall should be enough once these plants are established to continue their good health," said Brooke Byerley, a BRIT botanist.

    By the end of the week the rest of the plants will have found their new heights -- helping prove there's no ceiling on how to conserve.

    Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Botanical Research Institute of Texas is a part of the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. The Botanical Research Institute is located next door to the Botanic Gardens. NBCDFW regrets the error.