Detroit Zen Center Public GreenRoof

Help us install a community Green Roof!  The roof will be a community educational model, open for monthly tours, field trips, and a weekend tea house!   We have volunteers from MSU Green Roof Studies Department and biologist Clayton Rugh helping design & install it in October!

Why is a Green Roof such a big deal?  

As a layered roofing system with  live plants on top, a green roof:
-absorbs rainwater, preventing storm-water runoff (floods), and subsequent toxic sewage from overflowing into our rivers & streams.  This is a significant problem in metro-detroit.  Every time there is a heavy rain, Hamtramck basements flood, and the Detroit river fills with sewage.
-provides nesting for birds, bees & butterflies
-extends the life of a flat roof by 2-300%.
-significantly insulates the space below, saving energy by reducing heating & cooling usage.
-reduces  the 'urban heat island' effect, which traps CO2.
-looks great, feels great, and  makes sense at every level.

Green Roofs are essential to tackle the environmental emergency we face in metro-Detroit by absorbing storm-water & sewer run-off into the watershed, & they purify the rainwater they absorb before releasing it back into the air. They also provide homes for  ,   &  , and naturally heat & cool the space below.

Inspired by the 100,000 sq. ft. Green Roof on the Ford Rouge Complex, we installed a micro-green roof on our entrance patio in 2009.  Since then, we've been working to plan, fund & install this much larger green roof! 


September 5:  Tear-off & structural improvements of existing roof.
September 10-30:  Sub-roof, standard roof installation & seating/pathway installation
October 27-30:  Green Roof installation

Direct donations can also be made here: 

What is a Green Roof?  

A layered roofing system with live plants on top (ours will be moss & sedum), that:
-catches, purifies & releases rainwater run-off (a huge problem in metro-detroit)
-provides nesting for birds, bees & butterflies
-extends the life of a flat roof by 400% (60 years)
-significantly insulates the space below, reducing heating & cooling bills
-looks great, feels great, and makes sense at every level.

Green Roof systems require about twice the upfront costs, and a structurally superior sub-roofing system to hold the extra weight. 

The green roof itself grows as numerous separate mats.  They are designed for maximum water retention & purification of stormwater impurities.  After the roof structure is updated and the main roof installed, several drainage and root-block layers are brought up & placed, then the mats get loaded onto the new roof, and are 'sewn' together.  They are growing as we speak by Clayton Rugh of Xero Flor, and volunteers from the MSU Green Roof studies department.

The new roof will cover the entire 2,300 sq. ft. Meditation Hall of the Detroit Zen Center.
All donations are tax-deductible, with receipts available upon request.

Project Manager:  Myungju Hillary
[email redacted]
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  • Jocelyn Dombrowski 
    • $25 
    • 48 mos
  • Anne Hamre 
    • $15 
    • 48 mos
  • EJ Han 
    • $1,000 
    • 49 mos
  • Jackie Davis 
    • $100 
    • 49 mos
  • Jack Ryan 
    • $50 
    • 49 mos
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Detroit Zen 
Hamtramck, MI
Detroit Zen Center 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.