PITTSBURGH (KDKA) –Even a grand old building like Soldiers and Sailors Hall is not immune to the elements.

But a new solution is up on the roof.

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Soldiers and Sailors CEO John McCabe says the century-old building is going green.

“The vegetative aspect of it will help with the water runoff problem we had inside the building,” he said.

Though very few people will actually see the new plantings, he says that’s not the point.

“We have a lot of water that collects on this roof that runs into drains that are inside the walls of the museum, causing water damage,” McCabe said. “So we’ve reduced that tremendously. In addition, we’ve extended the life of this room because underneath the vegetation is a brand, new waterproofing system.”

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Fortunately, none of the exhibits in Soldiers and Sailors Hall were affected by decades of leakage through cast iron pipes. But the walls are a different story. The vegetation will serve as a big, green sponge.

Most rooftop gardens are used to raise either vegetables or pretty flowers, but in this case, Soldiers and Sailors is using this one to overcome adversity. You might call it sort of a victory garden.

If the foliage faces the opposite problem, not enough rain, McCabe says it can last two or three weeks without water.

It’s a new solution to an old problem.

“We’re not going to have to worry about it anymore,” McCabe said. “At least, from what I’m told, 30 to 40 years.”

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