>> Saturday, September 5, 2009
Recently, I noticed a few more articles than normal about green roofs. An article put out yesterday in the Vancouver Courier talks about a group that is raising awareness for green roofs. In ScienceDaily yesterday, there was an article about a study done at Michigan States University's Department of Horticulture. The study showed the success rate of succulents grown based on the growing mediums depth. With all this talk going on about green roofs, I figured the least I could do would be to explain the concept in case you haven't heard about them yet.
Green Roofs have been a popular idea in Europe for a while, but it is an idea that is really starting to take off in America as well. According to the article published in ScienceDaily, green roofs increased in installation by 30% between 2006 and 2007.
While rooftop gardens are something most are familiar with, this is a little less intensive. Most of the plants planted on green roofs are succulents or evergreens so there is less care required. than with a traditional garden. The plants aren't potted, they are actually a layered roofing material. Really impressive stuff! Typically, it is a waterproofing layer, drainage layer (like rocks), growing medium layer (like peat and manure) , and plants. The picture above is the roof of a parking structure at the Marriott Hotel in Vancouver, BC.
I'm sure you may be wondering why anyone would go through the trouble. Well, there are many benefits to green roofing. First off, they last longer than traditional roofs. There are no shingles or tiles to replace or much of a need for gutter care. This brings us to the benefit of decreasing storm drainage water, lessening the impact of runoff in sewage and drainage systems. Green roofs also help insulate the building, significantly decreasing cooling costs in summer. In large cities, green roofs help reduce urban heat island effect and improve air quality. Chicago City Hall was one of the first green roofs installed just to study the effects on urban heat. Some of the added benefits to a green roof are protecting the roof structure itself from damage due to extreme weather fluctuations, reduce glare in cities, attract more birds and butterflies to an area, and the added benefit of creating an oasis from urban canyons. It also just looks really cool. Many of the houses in the Faroe Islands have grass roofs and this adds to the charm and beauty of the area.
You can find out more about green roofs at Greenroofs.com and How Stuff Works.
Photo is from pnwra's photostream on Flickr and is licensed under Creative Commons.