Green Roofs: The Future of Skyline?Posted: July 22, 2011
hy do it? Why pay more money upfront for a roof system that’s still new enough to be considered “non-conventional”? Why invest in landscaping a piece of your building that, unless you happen to pilot low-flying aircraft for a living, will seldom be seen anyway? Why?
A video I put together for www.goforchange.com, a website celebrating any and all things sustainable in the Mid-Atlantic region, and abroad…
Well for many, the environmental benefits are enough. Foremost, green roofs help improve a city’s air and water quality. Plants, shrubs and small trees replace heat-absorbing surfaces and help cool the air through evapotranspiration (evaporation of water from leaves). Instead of polluted water runoff hitting the streets, a green roof takes it in and recycles it back into the air, just like any green land surface would. Not to mention the roof’s new identity and purpose as a habitat for wildlife.
For those who shake their head at all the “green” hype that’s emerged over the past few years, the green roof “sell” also benefits from having considerable practical reasons for its case. For one, they’re virtually maintenance-free, needing only be inspected and weeded a few times a year. They provide insulating benefits, aesthetic appeal, and all in all have longer lifetimes than standard roofs. And if you’re considering pushing for getting your building LEED certified, a green roof will certainly earn you some credits.
The Baltimore Hilton Convention Center hotel currently boasts the largest green roof in the city, its two towers hosting 32,000 sq ft (more than Ravens Stadium itself) of the eco-friendly option. With help from the local Furbish Company, six different plant species and over 60,000 one-inch plugs comprise the system, sedum being the main plant due to its ability to thrive in shallow soil, and its self-generating, draught-resistant nature.
Baltimore may be catching onto the message. In a study by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the Associated Press reported that Baltimore rounds out the top four spot for cities with the most green roofs installed, along with Minneapolis, Chicago and D.C.