It's the Environment, Stupid.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Summer is heating up

It is warming up in NYC. Soon the heat (island effect) will be upon us and air conditioners will run rampant. A perfect time to bring up green roofs.

Earth Pledge's green roofs initiative, Greening Gotham, has a cool home page picture. It is an arial shot of a portion of Manhattan. When you roll over the photo, the building roofs become green. I thought of this on my flight back to La Guardia, looking down over the warehouses of industrial areas, the roofs of which looked as large as Wal-Mart parking lots. A huge opportunity for greening (or solar panels - one of the two).

Green roofs can reduce the heat island effect in built up urban areas, cooling down buildings (and reducing the need for AC, thus reducing the grid load) and if it were widespread enough, could cool down the city. Of course there are structural requirements, planning and maintenance that have to be considered in order to create a green roof - so you can't just roll out a slice of sod and call it good - but with more and more green roofs there are an increasing number of examples to follow. Chicago is making great strides in this area.

What will it take for more green roofs? A fair amount of political will and public consciousness is usually the key to making things happen.

Are there green roofs in your area?

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