According to the Pottstown Mercury in Pennsylvania, new buildings designed for the state government in Pennsylvania must be green, but the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Southeast Regional Office in Norristown outdoes most of its peers. Completed in 2004, its features include air vents and electrical and phone wiring installed in the floors instead of the ceilings to allow individuals to more easily regulate office temperatures and lower energy costs. Additionally, the building's roof is lined with containers for plants that not only add to its beauty, but increases its useful life.

"We estimate it will double the life expectancy of the roof," says Heather Cowley, regional pollution prevention manager in the DEP's office of energy and technology deployment, adding that the roof provides both insulation and reuse of rainwater. "In Germany, pretty much everyone has to have one of these to head off stormwater problems ... People like to use it for their breaks."      EC