GREEN ROOF: Plants conserve water on roof top of Sherman Hill building

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The plants arrived by the semi load this week in Sherman Hill, but instead of the yard, this garden is going to the roof.

The 'vegetative roof' is the latest addition to the Green & Main project, an effort to turn an abandoned grocery store into a model of sustainability.

"I happen to believe that water is a really important resource, and that we don't fully comprehend how valuable it is as a society," said Project Developer Chaden Halfhill.

Conserving water is the purpose of the roof which mostly consists of a variety of plants called Sedum. The trays of sedum fit together on the 1,500 square foot surface, allowing the roots to spread out across the top of the building. When it rains, the roots will soak up most of the water, and any leftover will be filtered into a backyard rain garden or collected in barrels.

"We've got about 3,000 gallons of water that we can actually harvest," said Halfhill, to use for various needs around the property.

The plants will also help insulate the building keeping it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

"I've seen a lot them on TV but I've never actually seen one in person," said Tom Bos, an architecture student who stopped to see the green roof.

People who want to learn more will be able to participate in workshops at the site on 19th and Center as construction continues.The next class is scheduled for November 11th.

Focus: Green & Main Project Overview, Lessons Learned & Project Research Topics: Cost comparisons, project research, project overview, lessons learned and much more.

Interested in what the future holds for the pilot project Green & Main? Project manager, Chaden Halfhill, will divulge details on the research processes and renovation approaches of Green & Main. Hear specific remodeling methods and understand the importance of incorporating both energy and cost efficiency. This class will review the overall project goals, explain what is being done to achieve them, and explore how we will be sharing the information nationwide.

Class Details Presenter: Chaden Halfhill, Green & Main Pilot Developer

Location: The Wallace Center of Iowa, 756 16th Street, Des Moines

Time: 9-11am Class, 11-12pm Tour

Admission: $10, payable at the door

RSVP: Please reply to Tizzy Hyatt, Program Coordinator at or (515) 681-6781

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.