Published | 05-19-2020

Building Competitive Advantage with Green Roofing Amenities

Competing for tenants is nothing new. But as tastes and expectations have changed, building design is adjusting. The oohs and ahhs that used to come with an on-site gym are now reserved for high-end equipment, class availabilities, and personal training. The gym itself? Table stakes. Commodity features are no longer enough.

There’s one amenity progressive building owners should consider, says Tamala Herd, Design Manager for Bridge Commercial Real Estate in Atlanta, “Forward-thinking building owners should be considering outdoor space, first and foremost. Ideally this

space would be a rooftop amenity, if the building can accommodate it. Rooftops are a popular trend, and they can provide sunshine, a breath of fresh air and good views—giving the building a more modern, elite feeling.”[1]

Fostering a Sense of Community

As competition for tenants increases across all building types, attracting new tenants and retaining existing ones grows more important. Traditionally, buildings relied on surrounding neighborhoods to offer social connection. Now, building owners are realizing tenants crave these spaces within the building environment.

In Manhattan, outdoor space is one of the most pursued amenities. Since 2010, 79% of completed or under construction office buildings include dedicated outdoor areas. Connect New York reported that terrace floors command a 14% rent premium.[2] In Houston, Hines developer opted out of a rooftop parking lot in favor of an outdoor green roof. For floors that don’t have a view and would be a hard sell, the rooftop helps turn hard sells into leases.[3]

For apartment living, green rooftops afford privacy from the broader world, as well as more social opportunities with immediate neighbors. But rooftop spaces aren’t just offering entertainment benefits for social connection. Urban farming is continuing to trend higher. Developers are designing urban farms into their apartment, office, and restaurant projects as either commercial rooftop farms or community gardens. According to Motley Fool, investment funds such as Fundrise and Harvest Returns among others, are financing them.[4]

Notably, Chicago’s Emme living space sports an 8,000 square foot rooftop farm supplying local restaurants so that renters can “experience growing and be curious and feel they’re integrated into their community by it.”[5] These inventive roofing uses are becoming eye-catching draws to set a building apart from its competition.






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Structural Considerations for Rooftop Spaces

Providing your properties a new competitive edge with rooftop spaces requires an enhanced roof assembly design. Proper structural support is critical. Adding a quality roof board in the cover board position, sandwiched between the roof membrane and insulation, helps ensure durability under these more extravagant roofing amenities—including the significant added weight.

Mikael Kuronen, Georgia-Pacific Gypsum’s Director of Commercial Roofing Product Management said, “Including a high-performance cover board beneath the roof membrane improves the puncture resistance of the roof assembly.” He added that a cover board, “can also help protect the insulation from the compression related to foot traffic, which can degrade its performance.”

Georgia-Pacific’s DensDeck® Prime Roof Boards have the durability needed for rooftop spaces—even one of the largest rooftop gardens in the U.S.—the 115,000 square foot roof of the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn.

Designing Nature in Every Building

Attracting and retaining tenants relies on offering amenities they value. CookFox Architects takes an approach every building owner should consider. They design green outdoor space into every project they undertake. Their NYC office building housing Vornado Realty Trust has nearly 17,000 square feet in terraces and a common roof. “Every floor in the building has an outdoor space attached to it,” said David R. Greenbaum, Vornado’s New York Division President.[1]

Think green roofs are a passing trend? Evidently, it’s not, for those who seek a competitive edge.

To learn more about DensDeck Prime Roof Board’s usefulness for your own building’s rooftop spaces, visit


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Want to learn more about cover boards? Have a new roof construction project? Need assistance on a roof remodel?


Want to learn more about cover boards? Have a new roof construction project? Need assistance on a roof remodel?