It is no secret that rooflite green roof growing media produced by Skyland USA LLC is the leading brand in the North American green roof industry. However it is not widely known that Swarthmore College - one of the nation's finest institutions of higher learning – and Skyland USA LLC are sharing lots of common green roof history.
In 2001/2002 Professor E. Carr Everbach, Professor of Engineering already discovered the advantages of “European style” green roofs including their tremendous benefit for the environment. After a successful but small research project on a maintenance building he was encouraged to implement more “green technology” on the campus at Swarthmore College near Philadelphia, PA. In 2002/2003 there were not many key players in the American market and so he contacted Jorg Breuning in Germany (today principal at Green Roof Service LLC and Co-owner of Skyland USA).
Jorg hopped on the next plane and flew to Philadelphia for a first meeting at the College where he presented a feasibility study to implement a green roof on their newly designed dormitory – Alice Paul Residence Hall.
Surprisingly the College agreed to most of his ideas but they needed an American company for the design, specification, site supervision and quality control. For Jorg Breuning the decision was made and together with Peter Philippi he formed Green Roof Service LLC. Next they signed the contract with Swarthmore College. Shortly after that they realized that sourcing installers and suppliers is a challenge. It took Peter and Jorg many visits at Laurel Valley Farms until Joe Di’Norscia was able to convince his bosses investing in a new market together with Green Roof Service. Finally Skyland USA LLC was born and shortly after that Furbish Company Baltimore, MD was founded as one of the first green roof installing company on the East Coast followed by Resource Conservation Technology as the first supplier for green roof components.
It was an amazing chain reaction of new innovative companies all based on ideas of two visionaries who found each other at the campus of Swarthmore College. Still today Swarthmore College is the green roof leader in the area with currently around 15,000 sq. ft of green roofs and much more in planning. These green roofs are also inspiration for many other green roofs in the area like Villa Nova University, University of Pennsylvania and many residential projects. Skyland’s rooflite is the key element for success on each project – leading materials for leading projects.
There is a lot of great information about the Swarthmore College projects which includes extensive information about installation with pictures and even fabulous movies.
Plants of a Semi-Intensive Green Roof
Something Grows on the Roof of the Alice Paul Residence Hall
A conversation with the designer