Environmentally Friendly Green Space - Roofs - The New Urban Frontier
As an avid gardener who can be found often in muddy garden boots along with a trusty trowel in hand, I remember first hearing about roof tops going "green" in urban Chicago. I was thrilled. What is right about a "green" or an Eco-friendly roof? A myriad of items are right - right for our community, right for our environment and right for the occupants of the building. Our urban landscape needs the relief of green roofs.
Green roofs are an important trend that we must learn more about - even if we don't live in an urban city. Rural residents and urban residents alike need to understand not only the construction but also the potential impact upon the environment.
Most of us have experienced extreme humid, heat during the summer time. Then what we find when we walk on black asphalt when shopping at the marketplace often is double the heat. Now, imagine that same shopping mall parking lot and multiply this heat effect in the urban setting. This is what our urban skyscrapers do.
We need to recognize the environment we live in and appreciate the many resources the natural environment gives to us. One of the best practices we can do with our human intelligence, is to be smart enough to mimic Mother Nature. What better method than with green roofs?
Journey with us as we see the urban roof tops turned green. Learn the terms of "green" roof and "blue" roof - understand the differences. Stay tune until the end and see a bus, yes, you heard me right - a bus with a green roof! And that is not all, also see firsthand the goats on a green roof top. Take our poll and let us know what you think about the urban world we live in and how we can best manage our resources. Is mimicking Mother Nature the best way? Why or why not?
Green Roofs - Source of Heat in Urban Landscape
Layers That Make Up the Roof Top Green Space for Urban High Risers
Impervious Pavement is a Problem
Storm water is a concern for every urban area in the world. Even arid locations such as the desert must consider the impact upon their environment and plan for storm water.
When I was in Dubai I asked where the storm water facilities were and the experts almost laughed at me. They were much more polite than that to my face but I could see them questioning. Yet, two week after I returned back to the United States, there was a reported flood in an urban area near where I asked that very question.
The problem with urban areas is the impervious pavements we create. The man-made asphalt and concrete is low maintenance, yet it destroys the natural balance Mother Nature has provided. Drainage is always needed when you are clogging up the soil beds that Mother Nature has created. More importantly, you are creating a hot spot with lack of vegetation. Adding in the vegetation on the roof tops is not a cheap endeavor. Yet the value to the environment is immense. Returning what is correct in the landscape helps reduce the hot spots, generates oxygen for us humans and the accompanying animals that we share our urban neighborhoods with. Remember, oxygen is needed for all life. Water that is stagnant has no oxygen and it turns a terrible green and foul smell in many cases. Additionally, oxygen is the close cousin to ozone that protects our planet. It is ozone that kills bacteria without chemicals.
city has paralleled the growth of impervious surface, meaning that volume of both sewage and stormwater run-off have risen beyond the capacity of New York’s 14 waste water treatment plants.
Raw Sewage in Our Waterways
What happens when we don't plan adequately for storm water? Our infrastructure is overloaded. Storm water flows into sewage and sewage overflows - sadly this sewage flows into our natural waterways.
Lack of Infrastructure = Many Problems
Lake of planning and lack of infrastructure causes many urban problems. Yet, if we take our cue from Mother Nature, we can build building with green roof tops that help absorb some of this rain runoff. This absorption helps alleviate the overflow during dramatic downpours of rain.
Proper Planning = Less Problems
Proper urban planning equals less urban problems and less expense in the long run. Larger storm sewers and drainage ponds are not the answers we need. The answer is to build the storm sewers and drainage ponds in conjunction with mandating green urban roof tops.
Urban Green Inspiration
Investing in Green Roof Tops Faces Resentment
Understanding our environment and the costs we must incur to build our dwellings and our cities properly takes a paradigm shift, a new understanding of how we are hurting our environment, hurting ourselves by not building the urban areas with foresight. Intelligent building is more than just storm sewers and drainage ponds; intelligent urban planning as Mayor Daley and Bloomberg has promoted needs green roof tops for water absorption and for added oxygen.
Green Roof Top for a Garden Shed
Green Roof Tops in New York City
A Green New York City - Green Roofs
Check out the aerial photo of New York City and see what a difference green roofs can make. In stead of the black top, flat roofs, there are beautiful green spaces. Not only does this look better from above, but Eco-friendly roofs save energy, provide much needed space for storm water management and exude oxygen into the air we breath. Additionally, these green roof tops give the residents a green space to visit. Imagine a real, green roof - a park like setting right in your own building on the roof top.
As you can see, a few roof tops not only have green roof tops but also have swimming pools. Oh, the best of both worlds - greenery and refreshing water.
Green Roof Project
Green Roof Dog House
Green Roof Revolution
Green Roof Images
Door county Goats on a Green Grassy Roof Top
Green Roofs and Blue Roofs - Intensive Roofs and Extensive Roofs
In some ways, "Green Roofs: and "Blue Roofs" accomplish similar things. Green roofs consist of growing plants on rooftops and can be divided into two groups: Extensive and Intensive. The former refers to systems that usually have 6” or less of growing medium and often are placed on top of the roof in either trays or bags. Intensive roofs are deeper installations that include full continuous soil over an integrated drainage mat and water proofing. These roofs can be anyway from 8” to multiple feet deep.
Conversely, the label “Blue Roof” has been coined to refer to systems that focus on rainwater collection. By using catchment pools, rain barrels and more discreet water-hungry plantings, the goal of the roof system would be to minimize the amount of storm water that a building site sheds to the rest of the city.
Goats and Various Types of Eco-Friendly Roof Tops
Green roof tops are a possibility for our urban environments. Even green urban roof tops will probably never have the grace of the Door County goats on their roof tops as shown in the photo above, yet the green tops in the urban setting help our environment which in turn helps us. The green roof tops are something we as citizens must be knowledgeable about. We need to understand the issues and the many possible solutions.Learning about storm water and how lack of infrastructure affects us and our natural waterways is one piece in this knowledge bank. The other piece is know the possible solutions. The solutions have been categorized as green and blue roofs. These colors and descriptions provide a quick road map of what our options are and how to implement them for our urban roofs capes. For you see, an Eco-friendly roof top could be "green" or it could be "blue".
A Green Roof on a Mass Transit Bus
Green Roof on Top of a City Transit Bus
This is beyond words - only the photo will do it justice. I wonder if they have to water in between rain falls? I wonder if they dispense with the covered garage. I wonder what the extra weight is. I wonder if it affects the bus's gasoline mileage. I wonder if the roof ever leaks. I wonder what it looks like when you see the bus coming down the street. I would love to hear the comments of the bus driver and the passenger.
Proposed Green Dome in Seoul Korea
Your Opinion Counts
Do eco-friendly roofs matter?
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Green Future for Our Children
The world is changing rapidly. It is up to us to change along with it and create a community that is better - for all of us. Managing imperious pavement, using resources wisely, leaving a great future for our children and grandchildren is something that each of us can contribute. Your opinion counts. If you found this information valuable, please take the time and select the share button below and share with your friends and family. Let's make the future green - on the roof tops too!
Share Your Green Urban Story
Have you lived in a green or blue roof top building? Does your urban city have new regulations in regards to the roof tops? Share with us your experiences so that we all may learn what is happening on our urban roof tops.
© 2011 Ken Kline