16 March 2009

fiddler on the green roof

Chicago City Hall green roof. Photo: www.greenroofs.com

The next big bit of eco-architecture is the onset of green roofs and roof-top gardens. Especially in cities where greenery is hard to come by, this idea of bringing in some of the green stuff is an awesome idea. Green roofs can be used for a variety of purposes like:
  • Grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers
  • Reduce heating (by adding mass and thermal resistance value) and cooling (by evaporative cooling) loads on a building — especially if it is glassed in so as to act as a terrarium and passive solar heat reservoir
  • Increase roof life span
  • Reduce stormwater run off
  • Filter pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air
  • The soil and plants on green roofs help to insulate a building for sound; the soil helps to block lower frequencies and the plants block higher frequencies
  • Filter pollutants and heavy metals out of rainwater
  • Increase wildlife habitat in built-up areas

All of this can be achieved in the space of a few square feet. The city council of London has recently decided to outfit all public buildings with roof-top gardens mostly aiming at the conservation of essential species of bees, birds and wildflowers within city limits. Green roofs are common in Chicago, as well as Atlanta, Portland, and other United States cities. They are also being incorporated into many buildings in France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands and Scandinavia. In India, it should become mandatory for new buildings to contain this feature as it helps cool down buildings, reduce pollution, dust and improves cityscapes.

Greenroofs can not only be incorporated into office buildings but also homes. Greenroofs can be easily incorporated into architectural plans of a new building. Roof top gardens can be added on even on an older building. It is especially useful if you want a garden and don't have enough space for it.

Rooftops essentially are a waste of space. Incorporating green roofs and roof top gardens not only compensates for the fauna and flora destroyed during clearing of land for building processes but also offsets some of the carbon emissions during the building process itself. It also brightens otherwise dull cityscapes.

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