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Aquascape Green Roof Collapses

A portion of the greenroof that sits atop the Aquascape Inc. warehouse in Illinois collapsed as the result of an ice dam that prevented water from rapidly melting snow from draining off the roof.

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The collapse of a large section of a grass-covered green roof at a St. Charles, Ill. business shouldn't discourage people from using the environmentally friendly technique, experts said.

''There's really nothing about the inherent design of a green roof that should make it more susceptible to this kind of collapse,'' said Joseph Clair, director of energy and sustainability at the Illinois Institute of Technology. ''Green roofs have been installed in this country and other countries that have snow for hundreds of years.''

The 256,000-square-foot Aquascape Inc. warehouse featured the ''largest sloping green roof in North America,'' according to the company's website.

On Feb, 13, a section of the roof that ran the length of the building and extended over a parking lot collapsed at the pond construction and supply company. The section appeared to be about 50 feet wide.

No one was injured by the collapse, which company officials said in a news release was likely the result of an ice dam that prevented water from the rapidly melting snow from draining off the roof.

Aquascape Vice President Ed Beaulieu said a team of structural engineers from the company that designed the building were on their way from Houston to inspect the structure.

The roof, he said, had about 6 inches of a lightweight soil mix on it, but he said he didn't know whether the added weight of the soil may have contributed to the collapse.

''I honestly don't think we can make that assessment yet,'' he said. ''I do know that the structural members were greatly increased over what would be used in a standard building.''

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December 6, 2019, 12:53 pm PDT

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