Tuesday, June 05, 2012

People are talking about... Green Roofs

Ben Flanner at Brooklyn Grange

They're popping up all over the place, from New York to Los Angeles, and no, Im not talking about cupcakes.  It's Green Roofs!

The green roof movement is of course, not new.  Germany is the leader, where about 10% of roofs are green.  They have been growing "up" for the past 50 years and some parts of Germany require green roofs on all new buildings.

But it seems like the movement has legs in the States, and it's running!

Green roofs, according to The New York Times writer Tina Rosenberg, can help solve so many serious environmental issues.
A co-op in Manhattan with a roof garden.
A green roof on a NYC co-op
  • "Urban Heat Island." For anyone who has ever lived in a city, this needs no explaining, the temperature can sometime be as much as 7 degrees warmer, Rosenberg says, and green roofs can help lower the heat index.  
  • "Scrub the air." One sq meter can absorb all the emissions from a car being driven 12,000 miles a year, said Amy Norquist, chief executive of Greensulate.
  • "Water Run-off." It can take only 20 minutes of rainfall to start water from toilets flowing into Brooklyn’s waterways, Rosenberg reports.  And, the water can makes us sick.
  • "Habitats." Green roofs can provide the plants that animals, birds and bees need when parks are far apart.
The movement is attracting all types of companies interested in making a difference, from hydroponic growers to vertical walls and soil amendments like biochar. In fact, Brooklyn Grange is planning to put Soil Reef biochar on 1/2 acre of their rooftop in Brooklyn. 

Start small... with a green doghouse roof!
The benefits of Soil Reef are endless, conserving water and nutrients, growing healthier, bigger plants and putting carbon back in the soil, yet, the addition of biochar to greenroof soil has even greater benefits.  According to the Journal of Environmental Pollution, it has been proven to improve both runoff water quality and retention.

The future of green roofs is bright- look into installing one today. 

Katie @KatieGMG

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