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lightweight aggregate has become an established component in growing
media on numerous rooftop gardens. The use of this environmentally
friendly ceramic material, which weighs about 50% as much as natural
planting media, in greenroof design helps address important issues
such as managing storm water runoff, improving water quality, reducing
urban heat, conserving energy, lowering dead load and increasing
One of the most important components to both extensive and intensive
greenroof systems is a quality planting medium. Because of
the complex nature of greenroof construction and the difficulties
of access after completion, the planting media must be able to support
and sustain plants for the duration of the intended life span of
A well-designed planting medium will have the following physical
- Is free of silts and clays that could clog the filter fabric;
- Has permanent internal aeration even after several years of consolidation;
- Ensures adequate drainage;
- Ensures stable root support;
- Does not degrade, breakdown or shrink in volume over time.
The Norlite Solution
Norlite provides a long-term solution to the above complex design
- Its reduced weight can often accommodate structural
design requirements, yet it is heavy enough to avoid loss caused
by excessive wind or water.
- Its angular, inert, stable and porous ceramic nature ensures
an adequate supply of air to enable plants to be established quickly
and develop healthy root systems.
- Ample aeration increases the insulating properties of
the planting media and helps reduce energy consumption as well
as lessen the urban heat island effect.
- Overall project costs are often reduced because
Norlite can also serve as the drainage portion of the greenroof
- When used for storm water management, the porous planting
medium allows rain water to readily penetrate the soil surface. This
reduces runoff and allows pollutants to be naturally filtered
and remediated thereby improving water quality.