Green roof at the American Life building
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You probably won’t notice from the sidewalk, but there’s a new green roof installed at the American Life building at Fifth and Main Streets. The 17,000 square foot roof atop Mies van der Rohe’s 1973, five-story jewel of the Belvedere cost more than a traditional roof, but savings are expected in the long run. The roof also serves as a green reminder to Louisvillians peering out from surrounding Downtown towers, in this case, One Riverfront Plaza.

Green roof at the American Life building
Green roof at the American Life building. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

A green roof helps to keep a building and the surrounding city cool in the summer by reducing heat gain, stores water in succulent sedum plants and releases it slowly in the event of heavy rain, provides wildlife habitat, extends the life of the roof by protecting the membrane from exposure to UV rays, provides sound insulation due to the built up nature of the planting material, and is aesthetically pleasing to look at and occupy compared to traditional roofs.

Many green roofs have been built or are planned in Louisville including at the Metro Development Center, Metro Archives, Green Building, Louisville Zoo, and a TARC maintenance shed among others.

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