rooflite: Where we’ve been and where we’re going
Posted in Blog, Experience, green roof on April 23, 2018
More than a decade ago, a group of us with a background in both soil and green roofs decided to use our many years of expertise to create soil products for the green roof industry. The company we formed is Skyland USA, the parent company of rooflite, the premier provider of green roof soil in the Americas. From the first project we produced and supplied soil for in 2002, we’ve been striving to be the best green roof media provider in the industry.
As we established our company as a key player in the green roof industry, we had important milestones in our first five years like completing our first green roof project, a rooftop meadow in New York City that was featured in National Geographic and the New York Times, and installing five million square feet of rooflite soil on green roofs across the country.
We also created product innovations based on trends we were seeing in the green roof industry. We engineered an ultra-lite version of our soil for the Target Center green roof in Minneapolis, an agricultural soil blend for Brooklyn Grange Farm, and deeper soil systems for projects like the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The success of these new products and systems led us to make them available to the whole green roof industry.
In recent years, we’ve made a conscious effort to make things easier for the industry based on the things we’ve learned along the way. We’ve created an open source compaction method, developed 10 soil systems for distinct applications and plant palettes, created regional specifications and CAD drawings for our systems, and introduced specific weight classes regionally.
And now? We are committed to innovation as a key company value, and we strive each day to be better at our jobs and improve how we develop, test, produce, and ship our rooflite soil products.
Because of this, we’ve designed our work processes to ensure we’re always looking for ways to improve our products and how we share detailed information with the industry. Some of the ways we do this are as follows:
- Monitor and capture feedback and questions from landscape architects and installers
- Regularly assess our rooflite soil products against quality assurance benchmarks with both our internal lab and an independent lab
- Track green roof trends internationally to be ready for changing needs and requirements
- Understand and analyze challenges in our regional markets and develop plans to address them
- Identify areas for growth and improvement
- Invest in developing new products and approaches to respond to industry needs
These processes are applied across our whole company from product development and sales to customer service and logistics. This allows us to be forward-looking in a variety of service areas and continuously make improvements when necessary.
One example of how our innovation process helps us better serve the green roof industry comes from a growing trend we’re seeing in urban areas. As urban real estate costs rise, amenity space has to be provided ON the building, not around the building. Gone are the days where a parking garage could have cars on top – that space has to be utilized for amenities too. Because of this, we’ve refined and improved on our deep system, planter and container product offerings to better address this growing market.
We know from experience that innovation doesn’t just happen. That’s why we embrace it and live it every day. We know new challenges are just around the corner, and we look forward to taking them on.