It’s summer, and as temperatures rise, many of us in the Great Lakes Region and beyond are yearning for something to mitigate the urban heat island effect. Thus it seems appropriate to highlight some resources related to one popular means to reduce urban heat islands and increase energy efficiency–the installation of green roofs.
According to the U.S. EPA, “Green roofs provide shade and remove heat from the air through evapotranspiration, reducing temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air. On hot summer days, the surface temperature of a green roof can be cooler than the air temperature, whereas the surface of a conventional rooftop can be up to 90°F (50°C) warmer.” Benefits of green roofs include: reduced energy use; reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; improved human health and comfort; enhanced stormwater management and water quality; and improved quality of life.
The following resources provide a weath of information on green roofs:
- Greenroofs.com: An information-rich portal on green roofs. In addition to news, job listings, events, and an extensive section on the basics of green roof technology (Greenroofs 101), the site offers a student forum where students involved with green roof research can post projects and papers, and network with each other and companies. The Greenroofs Student Projects Database is an international searchable database of green roof case studies; an online form allows you to submit information on your own green roof project for potential inclusion in the database. The Greenroof Directory is an online guide to manufacturers, suppliers, organizations and students involved with green roof technology or promotion. The Research Links section provides information on green roof studies being conducted by universities, private companies, and public or governmental affiliates. The Marketplace is a listing of products related to green roofs and roof gardens. The site also features columns, such as the “Ask Ed” plant Q&A column.
- Green Roofs for Healthy Cities: The mission of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is to increase the awareness of the economic, social, and environmental benefits of green roof infrastructure across North America and rapidly advance the development of the market for green roof products and services.
- Green Roofs Tree of Knowledge: An extensive searchable database provided by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities on research and policy related to green roof infrastructure. Contains information on: the performance of different species of plants and growing media; the full range of the social and biophysical benefits from green roof implementation; private and public economic benefits flowing from the social and biophysical benefits; innovative policy tools used to support green roof implementation from North America, Europe and beyond.
- GreenSave Calculator: Developed by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) and the Athena Institute, this calculator lets you compare roofing alternatives over a specific time period to determine which has the lowest life-cycle cost.
- City of Chicago City Hall Rooftop Garden: This portion of the City of Chicago web site describes the green roof atop City Hall. The site includes a link to a Guide to Rooftop Gardening; information on monitoring the rooftop garden’s benefits; a photo gallery showing the evolution of the rooftop garden; information on the design on the rooftop garden; lists of plants used; and a maintenance plan for the garden.
For more resources on green roofs, see the Green Roofs section of the GLRPPR Green Building Sector Resource. If you are aware of case studies or other resources that should be listed in this Sector Resource, please contact Joy Scrogum or share the information in the “Comments” section of this post.