Green Roofs Taking Root

Written by Tom Orr, ESLLC 2016-2017

A new trend is taking place in major cities all around the world. Green roofs are an eco friendly design that sows plants above a roofline. They provide many benefits overall including a productive use of roof space, reducing stormwater runoff, improving air quality, and mitigating the urban heat island effect. They also reduce the need for heating and cooling, as well as proving food and a recreational area for residents.

San Francisco became the first U.S. city that requires certain new buildings to include these green roofs. The new law will require up to 30% of roof space on most new construction projects to incorporate solar, green roofs, or both. It also requires new residential and commercial buildings 10 stories or shorter to install solar panels or a solar heating system that covers 15% of the roof.

Combing solar panels and green roofs can actually make each component work better. Solar panels can provide she for plants while reducing the need for watering. Plants can benefit solar panels by cooling down the area around the solar panels. This system is a win-win for everyone and should be implemented everywhere.

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