Suddenly, green roofs are sprouting across North America.
Designed to curb air pollution, decrease energy expenses and reduce storm runoff, the environmentally friendly assemblies are adding a decidedly earthy element to urban skylines — a sign that the green roof industry is rapidly coming into its own. Particularly in cities, the rise of roof-topping grasses, succulents and other vegetation is fueling a boom for landscape architects, growers, builders and consultants in the know.
As the roofs bloom in size and number, cities are weighing new incentives to developers and owners to install the admittedly costly growing medium and plant life as a long-term investment that could benefit both businesses and surrounding communities.
And with a strengthening infrastructure to support them, designers are branching out in new directions. German policymakers quickly took notice of the advantages, including the potential to reduce both stormwater runoff and the urban heat island effect associated with asphalt, concrete and metal surfaces. In response, they created dozens of incentives and regulations encouraging more green roof construction.
Roofs Paved with Green - Bloomberg
In the mid-'90s, a European industry mostly dominated by French and German firms began expanding into North America and introducing the basic concepts to a new generation of specialists. Peck, himself introduced to the idea in , was tasked with leading a federal study on its benefits and barriers in Canada, only to find that there was little scientific information available for North America.
One of his committee member spent hours translating many of the studies into English. And even those reports sidestepped analysis of big-picture benefits that had been largely taken for granted.
A decade later, the industry has been buttressed by research and case studies detailing both individual benefits like savings on cooling costs and enhanced commercial values, and bigger-picture pluses like reduced air pollution and storm water overflows. Another essential element has been building expertise across a talent pool that remains unevenly distributed.
The new Green Roof Professional, or GRP system, should roll out sometime next year, he said.
In the meantime, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has grown to include more than 80 corporate members and has trained more than 4, individuals.
Most green roofs still feature s edum and ice plant succulents, which can tolerate harsh growing conditions and are ideally suited for low-maintenance rooftops. In mid-March, Shepley delivered pregrown sedum plugs to cover a concessions area at the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium.
Two years ago, the business helped install thousands more grass plugs on a massive green roof for a Library of Congress facility in Culpepper, Va. An award winner from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the project has all the advantages of a major urban park, Peck maintains. Considered the industry frontrunner among North American cities, Chicago used a mix of intensive and extensive vegetation to cover 20, square feet atop its City Hall in In August of that year, researchers recorded a rooftop temperature of degrees in the planted area, compared with a blistering degrees on an adjoining black tar roof.
If all Chicago roofs were similarly clad, city officials believe peak energy demand could be cut by megawatts, or enough electricity for , consumers. Chicago is now adding green roofs to everything from office buildings to fire stations, and city governments in Toronto, Minneapolis and Seattle are following suit.
Other city-based incentives, popular in Chicago and Portland, give developers extra floor space if they add green roofs, and fast-track programs are rewarding environmentally conscious projects with a front-of-the-line approval process. Adding more water-retaining surfaces, including green roofs, will effectively lower a building owner's city fees.
Beyond relieving the impact of development, the measure is designed to encourage both public and private-sector investment into runoff-reduction technology. Nevertheless, Mark Thomann, design director at the New York landscape design firm Balmori Associates , said high construction costs, a lack of government support, and limited expert availability are still combining to thwart many ambitious green roof plans.
ALM HM stock & distribute Zinc Sheet Metal & Coil
Even so, his firm has been trying to push the envelope on design. Other design firms are teaming up with ecologists to build roofs that incorporate hollows, small cliffs, scattered rocks, dead wood and varied vegetation to mimic everything from riverbanks to high mountain meadows.
The result has been a surprising burst in habitat for urban wildlife —and more aesthetically interesting roofscapes that building owners can use to attract human tenants as well. Endangered beetles and spiders have found refuges in Basel, Switzerland, where a city mandate requires green roofs to accompany all new flat-roofed buildings.
And in San Francisco, several acres' worth of dramatically sloping rooftop on the California Academy of Sciences have been designed as native habitat for the threatened bay checkerspot butterfly.
Cullina hopes the more publicly accessible Brooklyn rooftop will include visually interesting colors all year long. He also hopes to challenge the paradigm of which plants can be used in a living roof system, using nearby seashore and pine barren environments as inspiration. Moving beyond simple cost-benefit calculations can pay particular dividends for an institution hoping to marry aesthetics, research and community leadership.
Today's Stock Market News and Analysis - irexapezoren.web.fc2.com
It helps when a chartreuse rooftop grass turns a particularly vivid shade of reddish-orange during an otherwise dreary New York winter. TODAY Nightly News Meet the Press Dateline Morning Joe Hardball Ed Maddow The Last Word msnbc. Home US World Politics Business Sports Entertainment Health Tech Science Travel Local Weather.
Going Green on NBCNews. Green roofs popping up in big cities Environmentally friendly industry rapidly coming into its own Below: By Bryn Nelson msnbc. A residential high-rise apartment building in downtown Portland, The Louisa features an accessible green roof that mixes intensive and extensive plants. The award-winning roof was designed to reduce storm-water runoff, mitigate the urban heat-island effect and be aesthetically pleasing when viewed from above.The Coming $200 Billion Stock Market Wealth Transfer
Most active discussions votes comments. Search Most popular on msnbc. Popular stories currently unavailable Top videos Popular videos currently unavailable. The environmentally friendly roofs are new signs that the green roof industry is rapidly coming into its own. View rates in your area.