Construction, Real Estate, and Sustainability

Rockford Construction plants green roof at HQ

July 17, 2013
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Rockford Construction plants new roof at HQ
A rendering of the green roof design for Rockford Construction’s Grand Rapids headquarters. Courtesy Rockford Construction

No one should have expected anything less.

The Business Journal’s No. 1-listed green contractor in West Michigan is topping off its new corporate building with a green roof.

Rockford Construction is nearing completion of its stylish headquarters — at the corner of First Street and Seward Avenue on the northwest side of Grand Rapids — and the environmentally conscious builder will literally top off the building with a green roof.

Green-roof design

Rockford Construction chose Grand Rapids-based Advanced Green Architecture to design the roof.

AGA has developed what the firm calls an Advanced Green Roof Built-up System, which allows for a soil depth that ranges from three to six inches.

The roof AGA designed for the contractor will cover 3,300 square feet and will contain a variety of sedum plants, perennials and ornamental grasses.

AGA will plant the grasses in the roof’s deeper soils, while the sedum plants will go into the shallow areas.

The firm has filed a patent for its system.

Rockford Construction CEO and co-founder Mike VanGessel said the firm selected AGA’s design, because it matched the architecture of its new building, which features a number of straight and angular lines.

In addition, he felt the roof would complement the building’s landscaping and courtyard, plus add to the LEED status the company will seek for the structure.

Niche firm

“AGA has been the most amazing partner, as we worked together to design the green roof,” said VanGessel.

AGA has been designing green roofs and serving as a consultant to businesses since 2008. Every member of its staff has earned a bachelor’s in landscaping architecture and a master’s in environmental design from Michigan State University.

The firm designed a green roof last year for Catalyst Partners, which is located near Rockford’s site at 502 Second St. NW.

“Their experience and knowledge are unparalleled in the industry,” said VanGessel of AGA.

“And with their guidance, Rockford Construction will have a green roof that is not only spectacular, but also functional and enjoyable for staff to behold,” he added.

The new HQ

Rockford Construction bought the former Miller Products property last year and is investing about $4.7 million into developing the site and putting up its new headquarters at 601 First St. NW. The firm is spending $1.1 million of that total to clean up the property.

The building project is a mix of new construction and renovation work.

Rockford Construction is one of the nation’s top 400 contractors and builds in 44 states. It has 200 employees.

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