When asked about potential cost overruns on the Music City Center almost year ago, the Center’s representative Larry Atema stated bluntly, "There aren’t going to be any."  True to that commitment, Anne Paine of the Tennessean reported this past weekend that the Center’s "green roof has grown less green."

According to the article, two pieces of the Center’s green roof have been cut from the design to stay within the project’s $585 million budget.  The roof is approximately 14.5 acres and, even with the reduction, the green portion will comprise 178,000 square feet or 28% of the entire roof. 

Green roof benefits. The Center is committed to (and as required by Metro Codes "required to") attain LEED Silver Certification.  For the Music City Center, the proposed green roof’s benefits include: (1) stormwater capture and water retention for irrigation use and toilet flushing; (2) decreased energy costs from thermal insulation; and (3) improvement of the climate environment and clean air.

A path to LEED certification.  Ultimately, the proposed green roof at the Music City Center can help the property obtain over a dozen LEED credits, including credits for reduced site disturbance, landscape design that reduces urban heat islands, storm water management, water efficient landscaping, innovative wastewater technologies and innovation in design.

Green roof risks.  The Music City Center may prove to be a great case study for the benefits and risks of a green roof.   Some of the risks associated with a green roof may include: (1) failure to attain the energy efficiency levels claimed by the installation of a green roof; (2) failure to achieve the claimed number of LEED credits that are proposed for certification; (3) mold or other environmental hazards as a result of poor installation and maintenance of a green roof; or (4) a roof collapse resulting from a green roof that was not properly constructed, installed or maintained.

According to Holly McCall, an authority spokeswoman, no estimates are available on what the savings might be with the revised or the originally conceived green roof.

Image: Daniel Pink