Environment

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Green Roofs Changing Urban Landscapes

May 22, 2008 09:28 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Vegetated rooftops are showing up in surprising places, including Major League Baseball stadiums and New York City factories.

30-Second Summary

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MSNBC reports that green roofs topped with grasses, succulents and other vegetation are being built across the United States and Canada due to increasing efforts to prevent pollution, lower energy costs and thwart runoff.

Baseball stadiums, including the Nationals ballpark in Washington D.C., are among the unlikely places where green roofs are being built, thanks in part to 1970s German research into “lightweight, low-maintenance green roof systems,” said the MSNBC article.

Several areas of New York City have created green roofs, including buildings in the Bronx, and a factory in Brooklyn. In the Big Apple, buildings produce 79 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030.

According to a 2002 Time magazine article, green architecture was not embraced by mainstream builders in the U.S. until the 1990s. States started tax-incentive programs for green construction once legislators realized eco-friendly buildings would cost less to heat and cool over the long term.

High costs and the added weight of soil and moisture remain issues for some builders. However, studies show that green roofs are more cost effective than conventional roofs over time, and lightweight green roofs are available.

Headline Links: The green-roof boom

Background Links: Following Germany’s lead

Related Links: The weight and cost of green roofs

Reference: Green roof resources for designers and builders

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