Five Green Roof Questions With Twixwood’s Mike Edelbach

GG: Can you tell us about the Eco-Roofs modular system you designed and why you were interested in green roofs in the first place?

ME: We’re a larger groundcover nursery. Starting probably 10 years ago many of our different customers started asking for plugs to put up green roofs for the built-in-place systems. We started there and over the years some of our customers kept telling us we needed to do something with a tray system. There were just a few people out there doing these tray systems and they were selling them for an incredible amount of money. They were just plugs of sedums put in a tray and thrown onto a rooftop. The majority either died or had to be replanted multiple times.

Eco-Roofs formed as a company in 2008. We started doing research on trays and how to do this back in about 2006. We tried some different designs. We worked with different manufacturers on coming up with a tray that would do what we hoped it would do. We were looking at it more from a nursery perspective than a roofing perspective, with the goal being the plants needed to look good the day they went on the roof. No one should spend the money they’re spending on a green roof and have to wait two, three or four years to see green.

GG: Does Eco-Roofs get involved in individual projects beyond the production and delivery of its system?

ME: Eco-Roofs does go out and sell but we do not directly install. We don’t want to get into competition with our customers. There are some companies out there who sell and do the installations. We do not. We get the product to the job site and they take over. We will have a person on hand to work with them, help out with any situations and verify everything is ready to go on the roof.

Many of these guys come to us and say we want something better. They say, “We know you can grow a heck of a groundcover, so why don’t you do this with these rooftop trays?” If anything, we kick ourselves because we didn’t jump into it faster. We were spending a couple years trying to determine whether it’s a fad to stay or whether it was going to go away.

GG: Do you see interest in green roofs going away?

ME: I don’t see it going away at all. Last year, we probably did fewer quotes than the year before but I would say at the end of the day we probably installed just as much as the year prior. Things are more last minute now. Everybody is quoting and re-quoting looking for the best dollar.

GG: How competitive is the green roof industry now?

ME: It’s very competitive. It became competitive very quickly. Four or five years ago, these things were selling for $18 to $20 a square foot. Our pricing, depending on the volume we buy, is $8.40 to $11.50 a square foot depending on how large or complicated it is. That’s obviously a long way from $18 to $20.

We have to make sure we could produce these economically before we committed. We were pretty sure the prices were going to fall pretty quickly. I think the volume will go up if the prices continue to come down. It’s very expensive to put up a green roof.

GG: Besides more affordable pricing, what else needs to happen to increase the number of green roof opportunities for growers?

ME: Right now when you look at a tray system, it’s primarily sedums in those trays. That’s great in areas where they’re putting green roofs up solely for the benefits of a green roof. You’re controlling the amount of water that’s running off; you’re helping to cool off the building. But nobody’s seeing it. Sedum’s the perfect fit there.

We’ve done some on condominiums where the upper floor can walk out onto the roof and walk into a park-like setting. Sedums are cool and they’re cooler than a black roof, but perennials would add something to it. To do that, you really need to be in 6 inches of soil or deeper. There are certainly systems out there that have that.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Combo-at-Youngs-Plant-Farm

December 12, 2017

How to Produce Stunning Combination Containers

It’s easy to produce your own attention-grabbing combos, if you follow this advice from a master combination designer.

Read More
SunStanding-New-Guinea-Impatiens-Dummen-Orange-feature

December 7, 2017

Growing Tips From a Pro for SunStanding New Guinea Impatiens

SunStanding New Guinea impatiens hybrids spruce up the landscape with vibrant blooms that explode with color in both sun and shade areas, and they hold up well in heat and humidity.

Read More
Japan-Airlines-princettia

December 7, 2017

Suntory Pairs Princettia with Several Breast Cancer Awareness Promotions

Suntory Flowers is partnering with several major brands to support breast cancer awareness and fundraising, using its bright-pink Princettia euphorbias as the ideal plant for Pink Ribbon promotions.

Read More
Latest Stories
Combo-at-Youngs-Plant-Farm

December 12, 2017

How to Produce Stunning Combination Containers

It’s easy to produce your own attention-grabbing combos, if you follow this advice from a master combination designer.

Read More
SunStanding-New-Guinea-Impatiens-Dummen-Orange-feature

December 7, 2017

Growing Tips From a Pro for SunStanding New Guinea Impa…

SunStanding New Guinea impatiens hybrids spruce up the landscape with vibrant blooms that explode with color in both sun and shade areas, and they hold up well in heat and humidity.

Read More
Japan-Airlines-princettia

December 7, 2017

Suntory Pairs Princettia with Several Breast Cancer Awa…

Suntory Flowers is partnering with several major brands to support breast cancer awareness and fundraising, using its bright-pink Princettia euphorbias as the ideal plant for Pink Ribbon promotions.

Read More
Brandon-Coker-and-John-Ruter-University-of-Georgia

December 3, 2017

Great Plants for 2018 That Stand Up to Heat and Humidit…

In his latest column, Allan Armitage credits trial managers at the University of Georgia, who have come up with an extensive list of plants that continually outperform others throughout the season.

Read More
Veronicastrum

December 1, 2017

Kelly Norris On How You Can Sell a New Landscape, With …

In his latest column, Kelly Norris says programs like Plant Select deliberately set out to change the market demand for a different palette of plants. Their success should serve as an example for how to authentically connect the gardening experience of a particular region with the supply chain.

Read More
MSU-Annual-Trial-Garden

November 29, 2017

2017 Michigan State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI.

Read More
MOBOT-Trial-Gardens

November 27, 2017

2017 Missouri Botanical Garden Field Trial Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, MO.

Read More
ISU-Trial-Beds

November 26, 2017

2017 Iowa State University/Reiman Gardens Field Trials …

Check out the 2017 field trials results for Iowa State University/Reiman Gardens in Ames, IA.

Read More
Lucas Greenhouses 2017 Container Trials

November 25, 2017

2017 Lucas Greenhouses Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results from Lucas Greenhouses in Monroeville, NJ.

Read More
Upper-garden_Mast-Young

November 24, 2017

2017 Mast Young Plants Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results from Mast Young Plants in Grand Rapids, MI.

Read More
Pentas-Graffitti-Lipstick

November 23, 2017

2017 Dallas Arboretum Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trials results for Dallas Arboretum in Dallas, TX.

Read More
Pentas-Lucky-Star-Red

November 22, 2017

2017 Louisiana State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trials results Louisiana State University in Hammond, LA.

Read More
Echeveria-First-Lady

November 21, 2017

2017 D.S. Cole Growers Field Trial Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for D.S. Cole Growers in Loudon, NH.

Read More
Millet-Copper-Prince

November 20, 2017

2017 Colorado State University Field Trial Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO.

Read More
Achillea-Ritzy-Ruby

November 19, 2017

2017 Green Leaf Plants Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trials results for Green Leaf Plants in Lancaster, PA.

Read More
Ball-Bed-with-Midnight-Snack-tomato_Cornell

November 18, 2017

2017 Cornell University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trials results for Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Read More
Pepper Cayenne ‘Red Ember’ (Johnny’s Selected Seeds)

November 17, 2017

Presenting All-America Selections’ Latest Round of Awar…

All-America Selections has announced the latest round of its award-winning varieties, each of which was trialed throughout North America by professional, independent, volunteer judges.

Read More
Eason-New-Calibrachoa-Hi-Graft

November 14, 2017

Eason Horticultural Resources Introduces New Decorative…

Created by Hishtil Nursery in Israel, the new decorative forms of calibrachoa feature an 8- to 12-inch stem and come in four colors of calibrachoa blooms on top.

Read More