New Landmark Greenroof for Montreal

Montreal is set to build a new landmark green roof on it's eccentrically colored convention center. This summer the Palais des Congrès de Montreal – better known for being clad is huge swaths of neon multicolored glass – will be inaugurating a $200,000, 536 m2 (5 770 sq.ft) rooftop garden.

Compared to the 217 000 sq.ft. greenroof on the Vancouver convention centre, this project is still small potatoes. But at its full extent, the Palais hopes to green 13 378 m2 (144 000 sq.ft.).  If they reach that level they would be in the ranks of some of the largest non-industrial greenroofs in North America. 

Unlike it's bigger brother in Vancouver, the Palais' roof garden will have portions that are open to the public and will produce organic spices and vegetables for use in the Palais' kitchen. The Vancouver roof is home to honey bees, but doesn't produce any other crops.

Interestingly, a significant portion ($40,000) of the roof's budget is being covered by Quebec's Ministry of Health.  The provincial body has a climate action plan that includes provisions for reducing the urban heat island effect. Vast expanses of tarred black roofs are one of the causes for temperatures in cities that can be as much as 10c higher than their surrounding areas.  If you've ever been in Montreal in August when it's 37c with 90% humidity, you know that's no joke.  Following the lethal heatwaves that swept Europe and parts of North America in 2003 and 2006 it's good to see public health officials looking at green ways to cool things down.

I haven't seen the plans for the roof.  From the photo being used as part of the press coverage for the new roof garden, it seems to be an intensive garden that makes use of greenhouses as well as contained planters, but that still leaves large areas of the roof uncovered.  Those unplanted spaces will still trap heat, but that may be the tradeoff for wanting to have the roof open and accessible to the public. To cover the full 144 000sq.ft. potential of the site, I think it's likely that future stages will opt for an extensive green roof design, that is cheaper to build and requires less  maintenance.

The project, being managed by Montreal's Urban Ecology Center (MUEC), is an expansion of a pilot project that they ran last year.  While the MUEC has hopes that the success of the Palais' roof will help greenroofs spread throughout the rest of the city, this has proved difficult in the past. Montreal lacks any targeted greenroof incentives or an overall greenroof strategy, like the kind made famous by Chicago. Earlier this month, the city received $1.8m from the province to revamp its climate change programs, so perhaps something is in the works.


1 Response to "New Landmark Greenroof for Montreal"

Latoyia Stockhausen said... 13 October 2011 at 15:40

That probably one of the largest green roof parks I've ever seen. Congratulations to Montreal for having this unique and wonderful structure.


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