The Many Ways to Make Roofs Green
In the effort to reduce cooling and heating cost of buildings, storm water runoff, and to make cities prettier and healthier, some buildings have adopted roof top gardens.
Such gardens not only help regulate temperatures inside buildings, they also reduce the urban heat island effect through cooling and humidifying the surrounding.
The Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver's rooftop garden yields all kinds of herbs, edible flowers, vegetables, squashes, and berries for the hotel restaurant, saving it about $14,000 a year in produce.
Rooftop gardens also provide a much quieter indoor environment, improve air quality as the plants absorb carbon dioxide, and provide a eco-friendly place for birds, bees, butterflies in urban areas.
Rooftops with gardens and greens also provide a welcomed sight to neighboring buildings in the middle of the concrete jungle.
There are even buildings with walls made of plants.
If growing isn't preferred, the eco-friendly can choose to install wind turbines on the roof, which addresses critics' complain that wind turbines take up valuable real estate.
Meijer's Grand Rapids headquarters and other facilities are sporting rooftop wind turbines that generate clean electricity, significantly reducing the company's consumption of energy fueled by oil and natural gas.
At Meijer, each wind turbine can generate up to 1,900 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year at wind speeds of more than 13 miles per hour.
Unlike oil or gas, wind energy is a renewable, free, quiet, inexhaustible, produces no toxic waste or pollution, and doesn't directly destroy natural habitats.
Many mid-west states are the windiest places, so homes and businesses are well suited to take advantage of this source of energy.
This great alternative to reducing carbon footprint, has the additional advantage or being low maintenance. Unlike a roof top garden, wind turbines on a roof don't need daily attention. As such, it becomes a cost effective, low maintenance option of being environmentally friendly.