Development of a countywide system of trails and green spaces is an initiative by the Metro Parks Department, the Greenways Commission and the nonprofit friends group Greenways for Nashville. The partners work to connect Nashville, Tenn. in an environmentally friendly way and in twenty years have built over 100 miles of trails. One of the greenway systems, the Stones River Greenway, is a 10.2-mile paved trail system that runs parallel to Stones River throughout the city of Nashville. The Greenways links schools, shopping areas, businesses and other points of interest to travelers and provides access to a number of communities and parks along the way.

After demand by surrounding area residents, Metro Parks recently enhanced the Stones River Greenway by adding a 1,000 sq. ft. structure that includes permanent public restrooms, seasonal concessions, bike and canoe rentals, a food truck plaza and a 2.5-acre dog park at the J. Percy Priest Trailhead entrance located at 2778 Bell Rd.

 “Our residents are very passionate about both outdoor activity and civic pride,” said Shain Dennison of Metro Parks’ Greenways division. “The Stones River Greenway has been an environmentally friendly project that has brought several neighborhoods together and become a community focal point.”

The new buildings are comprised of four shipping containers and a steel canopy. Two containers that make up the public restrooms are 20’ long, while the two containers for the concessions and canoe storage are 40’ long. To ensure that the building’s design quality and green initiative were still intact, the choice to reuse shipping containers allowed for a not only a low energy alternative to traditional building materials, but also reduced purchasing costs of repurposed and recycled containers.

“Part of the environmental effort in this project was to use repurposed shipping containers for buildings along the trail. We needed the containers to be energy efficient, and a big part of that was making sure the roofs installed were UV resistant,” continued Dennison.

This project further decreased its carbon footprint by working with designers and contractors, including RSS Roofing Services & Solutions, a commercial roofing contractor with a location in Nashville, to install a cool roof membrane on the buildings. RSS installed tapered polyiso insulation over the containers which were then covered with a fully-adhered white 60-mil TPO membrane roofing system. By installing this type of reflective roofing system, the repurposed storage containers increase the facility’s energy efficiency even more.

“We were so excited to get the call for our services in the Stones Greenway project,” said Sonny McKellar of RSS-Nashville. “The more we heard about the project, the more interested we became. An important, overarching goal of the Stones River Greenway was to connect a community in an environmentally-friendly way. We were thrilled to be part of this goal by installing a cool roof system.”

Mandated by IECC building code 2012 with a recommended R-value of R-25, RSS provided the Stones River Greenway buildings with a roof membrane that will withstand long-term heat and UV resistance, reduce energy costs and urban heat island effect, and minimize thermal drift.

The tapered polyiso insulation is EPA-compliant, delivers zero ozone depletion potential and hardly any global warming potential. The insulation also provides exceptional thermal performance at an economical price and helps eliminate ponding water issues. Lastly, due to its lightweight features, the installation is fast and easy, allowing for decreased labor costs.

“Although this particular project called for a cool roof, other self-sustaining roof system alternatives could be vegetative or solar panel roofs,” continued McKellar. “Vegetative roofs provide many benefits to the building and environment, including air quality, storm water control and energy conservation. Solar panel or photovoltaic roofs can provide long-term cost-effective paybacks, environmental advantages and increased renewable energy sources.”

The shipping container buildings are an inexpensive and efficient way to make the public space more useful. The updated J. Percy Priest Trailhead entrance, which opened in November 2016, significantly enhanced the outdoor recreation experience for users of the Stones River Greenway, a real jewel in Nashville’s parks and greenways system.

General Contractor: Mutual Contractors, LLC; Nashville, Tenn.

Architect: Lose & Associates, Inc.; Nashville, Tenn.

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