Keep Indianapolis Beautiful HQ

Indianapolis, Indiana

AREA 15,400 sf | DEPTH 3 inches | SEED Omni Meadow Mix | WEIGHT 15 lbs / sf 

As the current building boom is transforming the landscape of Indianapolis, it raises questions about how to avoid past mistakes of designing structures wasteful of energy and resources. Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., a flagship 501(c)(3) organization in sustainable community development and environmental stewardship, is setting the standard for responsible building ownership in Indianapolis. Their headquarters embodies their mission to promote ecologically sound development across the Indianapolis community. 

KIB revitalized an abandoned warehouse with wind turbines, pervious parking and walkways, passive solar design, a rain garden, and cistern. In 2009, the building was awarded LEED Gold certification for its achievements. KIB’s original vision included a semi-intensive native green roof. Yet, structural analysis indicated that the roof could not handle the load without major structural modifications.

In 2014, the green roof design and construction team provided a solution that bridged the structural limitations with the ecological aspirations of KIB.  At an average depth of 3” and weight of 15 pounds per square foot, the green roof was established with only modest structural modifications. In spite of the light weight, the design created a life support system for a midwestern prairie rich in biodiversity. Over 85% of the 14,400 square foot vegetative roof is comprised of native Indiana prairie flowers, further ecologically integrating the building with its surroundings. The roof restores lost prairie habitat as a result of urban development as well as providing habitat for native pollinators.    

KIB has been a leader in storm-water retention and reuse in Indianapolis for years. By adding another stormwater management element to KIB's stormwater plan, the green roof plays an important role in slowing runoff during rain events. The high-efficiency irrigation system, drainage system and the growing media provide an optimal balance between water distribution, drainage and retention. 

The project includes an energy study to provide KIB with data to further its mission in promoting best sustainable development practices in Indianapolis. As the addition of the green roof was the only change to the building envelope since the renovation and KIB had records of energy usage for that period, the design team included a study to advance knowledge on the green roof’s impact on energy use. The study includes temperature analyses and a comparison of three years of pre-green-roof energy usage with post-installation energy usage to determine the energy use implications of the green roof.

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