Growing Green Roofs in Triad


Piedmont Triad Green Roof Symposium

The Piedmont Triad Green Roof Symposium was a great start to develop more green roofs to curb stormwater runoff in North Carolina.

Sitting in the foothills of North Carolina, the Triad- Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point- has been reinventing itself as a transportation and logistics hub after the decline of the tobacco and textile industries. This renewal is drawing more people into its city centers and spurring more development in the communities.

The increased development does come with the typical issue- more polluted stormwater runoff, decrease in green spaces, and increased temperatures due to the urban heat island effect. Green roofs can be a great solution for all of those issues.

In September to help spur the use of more green roofs in the region as redevelopment occurs, we partnered with Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (the trade association for green roof manufacturers) to host a symposium on green roofs. 

It brought together a large group of industry, development, real-estate, finance, municipal, and environmental interests to learn about and discuss green roofs over the day. 

In the morning there were presentations that introduced green roofs to the audience, explaining the benefits to the building owners and to rivers. After a great lunch of North Carolina BBQ, we dove into the opportunities and barriers to implementing green roofs in the Triad and what policy changes are needed to encourage them.

This discussion was energizing as business interests engaged directly with policy makers and building owners creating opportunities to see more green roofs.

Greensboro is already under significant pressure to manage its polluted stormwater that is running in to the Haw River due to the Jordan Lake clean-up plan. Winston-Salem is also facing a critical need for better stormwater management due to pollution levels in High Rock Lake.

The forum created a good foundation to work from in the Triad to encourage more green infrastructure to resolve these problems.