Energy Efficient Roofs Come to West Philadelphia

A number of green roofing projects have been popping up in the West Philadelphia area in both residential and commercial buildings. Green roofs serve multiple functions, including cooling the building during the summer, reducing heat loss during the winter, and retaining stormwater. They also dramatically increase the life of the roof by decreasing exposure of the roof to the harmful UV rays of the sun.

Not only do green roofs have benefits for the home or business owner, they can help to lower urban air temperature which is particularly important for dense cities.

Typically, a green roof is constructed by placing a waterproof membrane over the surface of the roof. Then a layer of dirt is applied, in which various species of plants are planted. 

The Partnership CDC provides free roof improvements, including white and green roofs, to low-income residents in area. Nineteen green and 73 white roofs in the area have been completed. Students at Drexel are studying the area influence of these roofs on temperature, storm water runoff, and water quality.

This past summer through the Green Professional Training program at The Partnership CDC, six individuals passed the Green Roofing Professional Certification Exam.

An alternative to a green roof is a white roof, which is a roof painted with a specific type of white paint that reflects the warming rays of the sun. Less expense than a green roof, a white roof also decreases the amount of energy needed to cool a house when temperatures rise.

The Partnership is not the only organization including environmentally sustainable roofing in their projects. The People’s Emergency Center (PEC) has several sustainable housing projects in West Philadelphia.  Jannie’s Place, a new affordable housing building by PEC, has over 5,000 square feet of green roof space. This roof should lower annual energy consumption of the building by 5 to 7% and increased rainfall retention by 50%, exempting the building from storm water management fees.

For more information of The Partnership’s green and white roofing program, contact Alix Howard at 215.662.1612. For more information on PEC and Jannie’s Place, go to


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