Green Roof Gardens — The Alternative Consumer

Green Roof Gardens - The Alternative Consumer

Green Roof Gardens

by David Lemberg @ 12:25 am 1 comment »

Welcome to our newest Guest Blogger, David Lemberg. David is Director of Corporate Communications for HOLISTIC HOMES @, the lead-the-field Green Construction firm based in The Hamptons in New York City

Those of us who live in urban areas are often unconsciously resigned to our tightly structured surroundings of concrete and steel. Green spaces are sparse. We could go for days or weeks without visiting the local park. Noise pollution and air pollution are deeply ingrained in city life. No one even notices anymore. But change is upon us.

The green revolution is happening now. A tipping point has been reached and passed. All news outlets are focusing daily on environmental and energy-related issues. Green living in harmony with nature – helping to preserve and protect our biosphere – is a phenomenon gaining momentum every day.

Installing a roof garden is a simple – and yet highly impactful – environmental action step with wide-ranging benefits. Roof gardens have been the rage in Western Europe for more than a decade, with over 100 million SQ FT of roof garden plantings in Germany, Sweden, France, Austria, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. Roof garden installations in the United States are catching up in a big way. (more)

Roof gardens can be planted on any flat surface. The benefits – aesthetic, ecological, and financial – are both dramatic and immediate. By installing a roof garden, a family can contribute significantly to the improvement of the local urban ecology and also help reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases and forestall the effects of global warming.

Roof gardens truly embody the principle of thinking globally and acting locally.

The ecological benefits of roof gardens are profound. Green roofs help purify air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, and also by trapping significant amounts of airborne particulates on their leaves. Green roofs cool the air via the process of transpiration, using heat energy from their surroundings when the plantings evaporate water. When it rains, roof gardens absorb stormwater, reducing runoff and flooding, and filter and clean the water as it passes through the roof garden soil.

Green Roof Gardens - The Alternative Consumer

We’ve all noticed how much warmer it is in urban areas than in the surrounding countryside. New Yorkers know how much the temperature drops when they walk into Central Park from Fifth Avenue or Central Park West. The air is fresher and cooler. It actually feels great to take a deep breath. Imagine little bits of Central Park, spread around the entire city on the rooftops of office buildings, apartment buildings, and homes. Green roofs help bring the countryside to the city, reducing the urban heat island effect by cooling the atmosphere around them.

Roof gardens also provide remarkably broad benefits for home-based energy efficiencies. Green roofs have important insulating effects, keeping homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. In the summer, for example, rooms under a green roof are 5–7°F cooler than the air outside. Also, green roofs lower roof surface temperatures by as much as 100°F in the summer. Reduced air conditioner use results in significant energy savings. In the winter, buildings with roof gardens lose 30% less heat.

Green roofs also promote biodiversity. Roof gardens, over time, provide important habitats for local bird and insect populations. These habitats are often much safer than the typical city environment, and native species can actually thrive in these easily maintained and much needed green spaces.

By taking the simple step of installing roof gardens, families and communities can contribute importantly and meaningfully toward the goal of restoring balance and harmony in our natural world. Each green roof helps rebuild local ecosystems, reduce greenhouse gases, and support the harmonious living of our generation and future generations.

Related: previously on altCon, (4.2.07) Rooftops and Walls Go Green

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