Living Roofs

This is another bee in my eco bonnet. I want a living roof.

Here are the environmental benefits:

Urban Heat Island Mitigation
The urban heat island effect is the temperature difference between urban areas and their rural surroundings. The temperature differential causes air currents and dust, and even contributes to violent weather events within urban settings.

Green roof vegetation helps by cooling the air, slowing air movement and acting as a substrate for pollution to settle out and detoxify. A green roof will insulate a building from extreme temperatures, mainly by keeping the building interior cool.

(I wonder how the additions of green roofs would improve Roseau. I have heard in earlier days there were many more trees and green spaces in town, and the temperature was much more pleasant.)

Noise Reduction
Plants, soil, and air trapped in the soil are great acoustic insulators. Tests indicate that green roofs can reduce indoor sound by as much as 40 decibels, which is of great benefit to occupants of buildings affected by airports, industry, trains and traffic.

Fire Prevention
Succulent green roof plants help reduce the risk of fire.

Water Conservation/Reduction of Storm Water Runoff
The soil in green roof systems acts like a sponge and absorbs excess rain water. Research has shown that extensive green roof systems can reduce runoff by up to 95% following a 1” rain.

Green roofs reduce the impact of each new building on the municipal storm drainage system and surrounding watershed. They reduce flooding, erosion and artificial heating of water which helps preserve fisheries and other aquatic life.

Green roofs reduce the need for on-site storm water management systems. When combined with an effective rain garden (bioswale), green roofs can make it possible to have zero discharge of rainwater from the site, therefore saving money by not having to connect to the storm sewer system.

Green roofs filter water prior to returning it to the aquifer. They buffer acid rain and remove nitrate pollution as water slowly percolates through the soil.

What runoff remains will usually occur hours after peak flows, providing additional time for sewer systems to handle the runoff burden from impervious surfaces.

Here is what the US Environmental Protection Agency says about Green Roofs.

What Are Some Green Roof Examples?

  • The Gap Headquarters in San Bruno, CA installed a 69,000 square foot extensive green roof in 1997.
  • Ford Motor Company has installed green roofs on its corporate headquarters.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah installed a 348,480 square foot extensive and intensive green roof in 2000.
  • Contractors recently completed a 30,000 square foot extensive green roof project on the Montgomery Park Business Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Ducks Unlimited, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of waterfowl, included two green roofs totaling 28,190 square feet on its national headquarters.
  • Private and public interests in the City of Chicago and the City of Portland have installed or are planning to install over 43 and 42 green roof projects, respectively.
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One Response to “Living Roofs”

  1. Zvezdochka Says:

    They are so cute:) I would love to live in the first one!

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