Green roofs offer big benefits for the environment. Made of layers of lightweight, absorbent material and covered with tough perennial plants, they retain large quantities of rainwater, reducing runoff that contributes to flooding and water pollution.
PECO has partnered with PHS to manage the 45,000-square-foot (more than one acre) green roof at its Center City Philadelphia headquarters. Located on the 8th floor and offering stunning city views, the PECO green roof, is open to the public to showcase the merits of green roof technology.
Completed in 2009, the 45,000 square foot green roof at PECO headquarters in downtown Philadelphia sits on an eight-story building adjacent to the company’s high-rise tower featuring the Crown Lights, a familiar Philadelphia landmark.
The PECO green roof helps keep rainwater out of Philadelphia’s aged sewer system. It captures 60 to 70 percent—or more during the growing season—of rainwater that falls on the roof, estimated at 1.6 million gallons per year. The plantings keep summer temperatures on the roof 60 to 80 degrees lower than on a conventional roof, where summer heat can reach 150 °F or higher.
Co-designed by Philadelphia-based companies Re:Vision Architecture and Roofmeadow, the PECO green roof features a large "extensive" area covered with low-growing sedums, a family of succulent plants that can withstand harsh conditions. The roof also includes a paved observation deck and an "intensive" area with four large planters filled with native grasses and perennials such as switchgrass, little bluestem grass, Agastache, and Amsonia>.
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, under contract with PECO, maintains the green roof plantings and coordinates public tours of the roof, as well as educational events about green roof technology.
Watch exclusive interviews with the people behind the PECO green roof project in Philadelphia. Designers, engineers, horticulturists, and building owners discuss the process of creating the largest retrofit green roof project in Pennsylvania, from conceptualization to design, and from installation to maintenance.
PHS leads public tours of the green roof at PECO’s downtown Philadelphia headquarters on the third Tuesday of each month, April through October, at 5 pm. At 45,000 square feet, the PECO green roof offers stunning views of the city. It includes an observation deck and an “intensive” area featuring large planters filled with native grasses and perennials such as switchgrass, little bluestem grass, Agastache, and Amsonia.
The fee for tours is $5 for PHS members and $10 for non members. Pre-registration is required two days in advance of the tour and must be accompanied by payment. We are sorry, but participants must be 18 years of age, and there is a limit of 25 people per tour. The tours will meet in the lobby at the PECO building at 2301 Market Street, Philadelphia, and will include a short orientation followed by the tour.