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CRC’s Green Roof Certified

November 30, 2012

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has certified the green roof on the front entrance to the Christian Reformed Church’s Grand Rapids office as a national wildlife habitat.

In order to become certified, a property must provide the four basic elements that all wildlife need: food, water, cover and places to raise young.

In addition to providing for wildlife, certified habitats conserve natural resources by reducing or eliminating the need for fertilizers and pesticides which ultimately protects the air, soil and water.

There are more than 100,000 certified national habitats, but this is one of the first certified green roofs.

Replete with plants, bushes and grasses native to West Michigan, the roof was designed and installed in late 2011 by Advanced Green Architecture (AGA) in cooperation with Weather Shield Roofing Systems.

The roof covers the triangle-shaped overhang above the entrance to the Christian Reformed Church office.

“Over 20 different varieties of plants, varying soil depths, perching structures, and gravel swaths were installed on the green roof to promote wildlife habitat,” said Jeremy Monsma, a green roof designer at AGA that specializes in biodiverse green roofs.

“The higher diversity in plant species has the potential to produce higher diversity in bird and insect species found using the roof.”

The majority of the NWF certified sites represent the work and commitment of individuals and families providing habitat near their homes, but the wildlife organization has also certified more than 3,000 schools and hundreds of business and community sites.

Now, NWF has certified the green roof in Grand Rapids.

“We at the Christian Reformed Church in North America are very proud of the green roof that was installed in 2011 over the main entryway to our headquarters building in Grand Rapids,” says John Bolt, director of finance and administrator for the CRC in Grand Rapids.

“The CRCNA has a keen interest in creation care and we have tried to demonstrate our commitment through the management of our facility.”

In 2008, the CRC embarked on a mission to greatly improve the the amount of carbon emissions from its building with new heating and cooling systems as well as new lighting and water management programs. “The green roof was a logical continuation of this effort," says Bolt.