Ford Motor Co.’s Green Roof: Saving Money While Protecting the Environment

Project Summary: A vegetated, living roof installed atop Ford Motor Co.’s massive Rouge plant, in suburban Detroit, was the largest project of its kind when completed in 2003. The living roof conserves energy and reduces stormwater runoff, which is a major problem for the nearby Rouge River.

Project name: Ford Rouge Plant living roof.

Location: Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit.

Description: The 10.4-acre living roof was part of a $2 billion

A view of Ford's Rouge truck manufacturing facility's living roof. The roof absorbs water to reduce runoff and keeps the building cooler than a traditional rooftop. (Photo Credit: Jeff Alexander)

A view of Ford’s Rouge truck manufacturing facility’s living roof. The roof absorbs water to reduce runoff and keeps the building cooler than a traditional rooftop. (Photo Credit: Jeff Alexander)

makeover that was aimed at making Ford’s Rouge truck manufacturing facility more environmentally friendly. The project demonstrated that corporations could conserve energy and reduce stormwater runoff by installing living roofs on large manufacturing facilities.

Approximate cost of project: $18 million.

Resource challenge addressed: Stormwater runoff, which contributed to pollution of the Rouge River and Detroit River. Rain and snowmelt carries pollutants to the river, where oil, grease and chemicals can harm fish and other aquatic life.

Key partners (public and private):

A close-up view of Ford's Rouge truck manufacturing facility's green roof. (Photo Credit: Jeff Alexander)

A close-up view of Ford’s Rouge truck manufacturing facility’s green roof. (Photo Credit: Jeff Alexander)

Ford Motor Co., William McDonough & Partners (architect), ARCADIS (environmental consultant), Michigan State University and several companies that provided plants and construction materials.

Types of jobs created: Architects, landscape designers, plant and soil scientists, chemists, biologists and civil engineers.

Results and accomplishments: The living roof, which keeps the factory cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, decreased energy use at Ford’s Rouge plant by 7 percent.  The living roof was also a cornerstone of green infrastructure that can filter up to 20 billion gallons of stormwater annually at the manufacturing facility,

Web site: http://myfrd.co/oColbR

Originally Published: October 10, 2011

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