Roof Garden

Roof Garden

Active Ventilation Products -A whole slew of products for the roof to help remove moisture and heat. Take a look at their intriguing product called the Aura breather vent.

Atlantis Roof Garden Systems -Drainage Cells in planter box and roof garden designs, cities can efficiently capture rain water and clean polluted air through increased vegetation. I think these cells could also be great for earth homes and water

American Wick Drain Corporation — Creators of the amerdrain for roof gardens, earth homes and more. Really neat idea and concept. Take a look at the images under Roof Garden and scroll to the bottom for links to uses of the product. Must see.storage.

ARDG -Take a scroll down the list of reasons to build a green roof system.

Cordwood Sauna -Perhaps a strange place to put this except it also has an earth roof. Did you know the original saunas were earth sheltered?

Domestic Roofwater Harvesting -roofwater harvesting system comprises a roof, a storage tank and a means such as guttering of connecting the one to the other.

ERSystems -A tale of two roofs. This material stretched and insulates.

Fresh veg city — Rooftop gardens are ideal for densely packed and increasingly smoggy Montreal

Garland Co -Information on Green roofs for the North American and UK markets.

Green Roofs -A central resource on Green Roof gardens, jobs, information on where to find a builder and more.

Hurstwic -Take a gander at the three different turf roof reconstructions.

Issues and Ideas -Could an eco-roof be in your future? (PDF)

Mesic Meadow Ecosystem -A short study on the concept of putting a library underneath a wet meadow. I like the idea.

Newton System -NEWTON 500 membranes for waterproofing underground structures such as wet basements, damp cellars, flooded vaults, dripping railway arches, damp stations, turf roofs and many other problems that require a long lasting flexible damp and waterproof solution. UK

Oesch Environmental Design -Take a look at their living roof page

Oldroyd -Oldroyd Xv is a waterproof membrane system It is a convenient way to prevent ingress of water from the roofing turf.

Permatill -So, you probably didnt realize they have soil specifically tailored for roof gardens. I wouldnt be surprised if this soil could be utilized with earth homes in some locations.

Platon Xtra Tuf -Ordinary roof? Why shingle when you can tuf it?

Prelasti -This UK company has created a rubber water proofing component to beautify concrete roofs. Take a look see.

Roofscapes -Green technology for the urban environment. PA

Sani-Tred -US based company has developed a waterproofing product which is safe, odor free and can be used for roof gardens, tunnel sealers, in aquaculture and more.

Solar Star Attic Fan — Research has proven that heat and moisture are every attics worst enemy. Solar Star, the leader in solar powered attic ventilation, brings you the most technically-advanced, environmentally-friendly, ventilation solution available today.

Tamar Landscape Architects -Not sure if most of us can afford their designs but for desert roof gardens I sure would love to visit some of the places theyve helped build. Israel

The Grow Spot -Interesting coverings from around the globe

ThermoSheild -Their roof coating is unique in the industry. When wet it swells and becomes waterproof. When dry it shrinks and allows moisture to escape.

Urban Agriculture: The Potential of Rooftop Gardening- Urban agriculture, the Site and the Plan, observations and more. A lot of excellent material here to eliminate a lot of concerns an earth home builder might have.

USDA-Plants Database -The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.

Xero Flor Canada -Thinking of a roof garden? They have among their products the pre-seeded blanket. Grow your roof with these simple blankets which are seeded with the necessary plants.

Zinco -I really love this site which deals with having roof gardens built over underground garages. They say its even possible to have a pond. People with a vision. Well done site as well. International.

Discover the many advantages of rooftop gardening

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A roof garden can save energy, reduce stormwater runoff and provide a great amenity for city dwellers. Getty Images

Most of us have a roof. but how many of us actually use that roof for anything besides shelter? Fortunately, a new generation of builders, landscape architects, government officials and property owners are discovering the many benefits of rooftop gardens, as well as other features of a green roof .

Roof Gardens and Energy Savings

To better understand the energy benefits of a rooftop garden, it’s important to understand the concept of an urban heat island. the increase in temperature that’s found in virtually all urban areas. Solar radiation warms up concrete, asphalt and other man-made materials much faster and hotter than it warms trees, plants and greenery. The result is a big zone of hot air — a heat island — surrounding urban environments year-round.

While this helps to keep cities warm in winter, the urban heat island makes cities and towns sweltering hot in summer, which means air-conditioners and other cooling equipment have to work harder and longer. The resulting spike in energy demand puts a real strain on electrical grids, and can send summer energy bills through the roof.

A roof garden, however, can ease the burden on homes and commercial buildings. A study by the National Research Council of Canada found that an exposed roof can get as hot as 158 degrees F on a sunny day; an identical roof, when covered by a green, shady roof garden, stays relatively cool at just 77 degrees F.

This cooling effect resulted in big energy savings. According to the Canadian report, the average daily energy demand for air-conditioning with the bare roof was 6.0 to 7.5 kWh (20,500-25,600 BTU). But the shade plants in the rooftop garden reduced the heat flow, thereby reducing the average daily energy demand to less than 1.5 kWh (5,100 BTU) — a savings of over 75 percent.

The Architectural Benefits of Green Roofs

In addition to energy savings, roof gardens have a beneficial effect on roofs themselves. Most roofs, exposed as they are to sun, wind, snow and rain, go through rather large variations in temperature. These extreme temperatures cause the roof membrane to shrink in cooler weather, and expand in hot weather.

All this shrinking and swelling takes a toll on the roof, shortening its lifespan — but rooftop gardens can help. In the Canadian research noted above, the bare roof experienced daily temperature fluctuations of 83 degrees F; the roof gardens reduced this variation to just 22 degrees F. When the city of Roanoke, Va. installed a green roof on its municipal building — at a relatively low cost of $123,000 — it added 20 to 60 years to the life of the current roof.

Roof Gardens and Stormwater Management

Roof Garden

Another big advantage to roof gardens is their ability to manage rainfall, making it cleaner while also reducing its quantity, thus easing the burden on local storm sewer systems.

When the Canadian researchers compared the runoff from a bare roof and a rooftop garden, the difference was astounding: The roof garden reduced the amount of runoff by 75 percent, and delayed the run-off time by 45 minutes. For wastewater systems that routinely discharge raw sewage after a rainstorm, this finding is big news.

Though the researchers didn’t measure the water quality of the runoff, advocates of green roofs and roof gardens claim that the rainfall running off a bare roof contains many pollutants like petroleum-based volatile organic compounds (VOCs). But when rainfall is captured by a covering of trees and plants, then filtered through the plants’ soil, it contains fewer harmful pollutants.

The Pleasures of Rooftop Gardening

Besides the environmental and financial benefits of roof gardens, there’s another benefit that’s more difficult to quantify: the age-old pleasure of gardening itself. Especially in urban areas — where farmland is rare if not nonexistent — rooftop gardens hold the irresistible promise of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as quiet, green spaces for relaxation and recreation.

Different municipalities have different degrees of permitting and other requirements before a roof garden or green roof can be installed. Many of these government officials, however, are coming to realize that the energy savings, the reduction in stormwater and other benefits of roof gardens greatly outweigh the risks. Chicago and New York City, for example, are actually encouraging the installation of roof gardens throughout their cities — much to the delight of urban gardeners everywhere.

Environmental impact

The roof terrace of the Casa Grande hotel in Santiago de Cuba.

Roof gardens are most often found in urban environments. Plants have the ability to reduce the overall heat absorption of the building which then reduces energy consumption. "The primary cause of heat build-up in cities is insolation. the absorption of solar radiation by roads and buildings in the city and the storage of this heat in the building material and its subsequent re-radiation. Plant surfaces however, as a result of transpiration, do not rise more than 4–5 °C above the ambient and are sometimes cooler." [ 7 ] This then translates into a cooling of the environment between 3.6 and 11.3 degrees Celsius (6.5 and 20.3 °F), depending on the area on earth (in hotter areas, the environmental temperature will cool more). The study was performed by the University of Cardiff. [ 8 ]

Urban agriculture

An extreme example of a roof garden, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“In an accessible rooftop garden, space becomes available for localized small-scale urban agriculture, a source of local food production. An urban garden can supplement the diets of the community it feeds with fresh produce and provide a tangible tie to food production.” [ 10 ] At Trent University. there is currently a working rooftop garden which provides food to the student café and local citizens.

Available gardening areas in cities are often seriously lacking, which is likely the key impetus for many roof gardens. The garden may be on the roof of an autonomous building which takes care of its own water and waste. Hydroponics and other alternative methods can expand the possibilities of roof top gardening by reducing, for example, the need for soil or its tremendous weight. Plantings in containers are used extensively in roof top gardens. Planting in containers prevents added stress to the roof’s waterproofing. One high-profile example of a building with a roof garden is Chicago City Hall.

For those who live in small apartments with little space, square foot gardening. or (when even less space is available) living walls (vertical gardening) can be a solution. These use much less space than traditional gardening (square foot gardening uses 20% of the space of conventional rows; ten times more produce can be generated from vertical gardens). These also encourage environmentally responsible practices, eliminating tilling, reducing or eliminating pesticides, and weeding, and encouraging the recycling of wastes through composting.

Importance to urban planning

Becoming green is a high priority for urban planners. The environmental and aesthetic benefits to cities is the prime motivation. It was calculated that the temperature in Tokyo could be lowered by 0.11–0.84 °C if 50% of all available rooftop space were planted with greenery. This would lead to a savings of approximately 100 million yen [ 11 ]

Singapore is very active in green urban development. "Roof gardens present possibilities for carrying the notions of nature and open space further in tall building development." [ 11 ] When surveyed, 80% of Singapore residents voted for more roof gardens to be implemented in the city’s plans. Recreational reasons, such as leisure and relaxation, beautifying the environment, and greenery and nature, received the most amount of votes. Planting roof gardens on tops of building is a great way to make city more efficient. [ 12 ]

The planters on a roof garden may be designed for a variety of functions and vary greatly in depth to satisfy aesthetic and recreational purposes. These planters can hold a range of ornamental plants: anything from trees, shrubs, vines, or an assortment of flowers. As aesthetics and recreation are the priority they may not provide the environmental and energy benefits of a green roof.Planting on roof tops can make urban living more self-sufficient and make fresh vegetables more accessible to urban people.

Science of gardening

The related idea of a living machine is based on the most basic cycle of gardening: using wastes (organic waste and sewage ), appropriately broken down, usually in some specialized container, on the soil. and harvesting food which, when processed, generates biodegradable waste, and when eaten, generates sewage. In most of the world, this kind of very tight closed loop gardening is used, despite certain health risks if necessary precautions are not taken. Composting human or pet waste should achieve thermophilic conditions and age for at least a year before being used.

In popular culture

  • American jazz singer Al Jarreau composed a song named ‘Roof Garden’.
  • Apu Nahasapeemapetilon of the TV show the The Simpsons has a roof top garden visited by Paul McCartney and his wife.
  • In BBC ‘s 1990 television miniseries House of Cards. the main character, MP Francis Urquhart. murders journalist Mattie Storin by throwing her off of the Palace of Westminster ‘s rooftop garden.


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