Renowned Doctor & Baltimore Conservationist Blazes Trail for New Green Roof at Roland Park Place

Jun 12, 2014, 16:06 ET from Roland Park Place

BALTIMORE, June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- If you want to change the world — as the old adage goes — the best place to start is your own backyard. Octogenarian Dr. Michael Beer, the former chair of the Jones Falls Watershed Association (now, Blue Water Baltimore) and now resident of Roland Park Place (RPP) did exactly that when he successfully campaigned for the installation of a green roof at the only not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Baltimore City.

Because of his persistence and dedication to raising awareness among other residents about the project, RPP installed the community's first-ever extensive green roof over its John Short Dining Room. The roof transitioned from a flat, pebble-lined surface to 7,000-square feet of a variety of special grasses and sedum that absorb water, provide insulation, filter pollutants and reduce storm water runoff.

Inspired by former caring and maintenance of Jones Falls watershed

Hungarian-born Dr. Beer is well known at Johns Hopkins University for his work on DNA and Electron Microscopy, and in Baltimore for his hands-on environmental leadership – particularly with the Jones Falls and Stony Run Park restorations. For him, RPP's green roof is another way to bring nature to an urban environment and further nurture Stony Run, the Jones Falls tributary he tended to for more than 20 years.

"Stony Run and the Jones Falls are near and dear to my heart. Green roofing in cities is a huge help in reducing rain water runoff to city streams and waterways like these," said Dr. Beer. "Aside from all of its other obvious traditional green benefits, this cause will nurture Baltimore's tributaries in the long run and benefit families and children in this city for generations to come."

Retirement community supports passions of residents

"With a passion for environmental sustainability and an interest in improving the balcony views for more than half of RPP residents, the new green roofing was an exciting cause for me," said Dr. Beer. "The long-term benefits of this new roofing are undeniable, and I was so grateful to have the support and interest from leadership at Roland Park Place to make this happen."

According to Roland Park Place's Board of Directors and President, RPP has been looking for ways to increase and improve environmental sustainability on its campus and this effort reflects the entire community's enthusiastic attitude about "going greener." "Roland Park Place is fortunate to have residents with decades of expertise and knowledge that facilitated the progression of the green roof idea," said President of Roland Park Place, Terry Snyder. "Without the continued support, interest and background in sustainable environments from our residents, it may not have come to fruition."

An extensive green roof with extensive green benefits

The new extensive green roof is shallow (less than six inches deep), resistant to harsh environmental rooftop conditions and virtually maintenance-free except for occasional weeding. The plants on the green roof will absorb radiant energy so that it doesn't enter the building, maintaining temperatures in the building below by providing insulation.

On the green roof, the soils and the root systems can hold considerable water. Therefore, the usual gush of rain that falls off the roof will be reduced and delayed, which in turn reduces contamination, stream bank erosion, and silting in the harbor and the bay.

The roof is already experiencing successful growth with the first round of plants, and final planting will conclude this month. Roland Park Place selected Bollinger Roofing and Furbish & Co. to complete the green roof project. Furbish & Co. developed RPP's "EcoCline" green roofing in cooperation with the University of Maryland. This revolutionary roofing system is 90 percent recycled, and the two-inch profile installed at Roland Park Place manages as much storm water as a traditional green roof twice its weight and thickness.

About Roland Park Place
Roland Park Place (RPP) is the only full-service, accredited not-for-profit continuing care retirement community (known as a CCRC or life-care community) in Baltimore City offering independent living, residential care (assisted living) and comprehensive/skilled nursing care. The independent 200-residence community has a profound commitment to its residents and encourages their passions and hobbies with enthusiastic support; extraordinary social and intellectual programming; and abundant opportunity to explore every interest and activity. For more information about RPP, visit or find us on Facebook at

SOURCE Roland Park Place