Ford Motor Co.’s Green Roof:

Saving Money While Protecting the Environment

A vegetated, living roof installed atop Ford Motor Co.’s massive Rouge plant, in suburban Detroit, was the largest project of its kind when completed in 2003. The living roof conserves energy and reduces stormwater runoff, which is a major problem for the nearby Rouge River.


The 10.4-acre living roof was part of a $2 billion makeover that was aimed at making Ford’s Rouge truck manufacturing facility more environmentally friendly. The project demonstrated that corporations could conserve energy and reduce stormwater runoff by installing living roofs on large manufacturing facilities. Rain and snowmelt carries pollutants to the Rouge River, where oil, grease and chemicals can harm fish and other aquatic life and the green roof will help absorb these pollutants to reduce their presence in the river

Resource Challenges Addressed

  • Stormwater runoff
  • Polluted runoff

Results and Accomplishments

The living roof, which keeps the factory cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, decreased energy use at Ford’s Rouge plant by 7 percent.  The living roof was also a cornerstone of green infrastructure that can filter up to 20 billion gallons of stormwater annually at the manufacturing facility.


A view of Ford’s Rouge truck manufacturing facility’s living roof. The roof absorbs water to reduce runoff and keeps the building cooler than a traditional rooftop. Photo credit: Jeff Alexander.