5 Simple Steps to Create DIY Green Roofs

If you like landscaping and take care of the environment, then it is a great idea to create more greenery on the site, turning a regular roof into the green one. This is especially true for urban dwellings, where space for gardens is limited. Your home will stand out from other homes and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and its environmental impacts. We will discuss the impact of a green roof on the energy efficiency of a house below.

What is a Green Roof?

The green roof also referred to as a living roof, is a conventional roof that has been enhanced with a waterproof membrane, a drainage system, and a growing medium that is then covered in vegetation.

The difference between green roofs and other rooftop gardens is that they are usually not planned as accessible to the public. Green roofs are suitable for many applications, including distribution centers, business and office buildings, public buildings and even private roofs. Green roofs also differ in that they add from 17 (dry) to 30 (wet) pounds per square foot to a roof load on the roof, while roof gardens can add up to 100 pounds per square foot or more.

In addition to the main function of the roof, these moderately light loads reduce development costs, while providing huge environmental, aesthetic, and social benefits.

In urban areas, the standard roof includes a dark top, tar and shake. This captures a lot of heat that makes metropolitan areas more stuffy than their suburbs. This is called the urban heat island effect. I addition, getting heat requires a lot of energy and water. Using green roofs can quickly reduce this effect.

Green Roof Benefits

Green roofs covered with plants and vegetation give many advantages to the building. Here are the main benefits of green roofs:

  • Insulate the home by keeping both the heat in and cold out: control the cooling temperature in summer and reduce heating bills in winter by 10 percent.
  • Absorb up to 80 percent of stormwater runoff.
  • Extend an average roof lifespan (from 15 to 50 years).
  • Reverse the effects of urban heat islands by absorbing heat.
  • Provide habitat for urban-dwelling animals and insects (bees).
  • Significantly improve urban design and recreation space.
  • Some cities offer grants or incentives for green roof construction.
  • Improve air quality by reducing harmful gases (sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide).
  • Create the best conditions to maintain solar panels for the best efficiency by keeping a suitable temperature.
  • Increase the value of real estate.

The Main Types of Green Roofs

Now you understand the great benefits of the green roof of your home. Although it sounds expensive, you will get a return on your investment in the coming years. You need to decide how much time and resources you want to invest in your green roof. Depending on your decision, you can choose one of three main types of green roofs:

  • Extensive – low-cost maintenance requirements
  • Intensive – the higher cost of maintenance requirements
  • Semi-intensive – an average between the two above types
Extensive Green Roofs

Extensive green roofs are a prevalent choice for property owners, as they have a simple configuration and are not used as elevated gardens. They are reasonable for both existing and new roofing. They require a relatively thin amount of substrate (about 100 pounds for square foot) that supports a low layer of vegetation, about 80 – 100 mm in height, such as grass, moss, sedum or little blooms.

Extensive green roofs
Extensive green roofs

They have all the advantages of cooling and stormwater absorption that comes with a green roof but require very little maintenance. Sedum green roofs are the most well-known sort because of the solidness and low maintenance requirements for the plant. A simplified way to look at an extensive green roof is if you took your yard and placed it on your roof.

Intensive Green Roofs

Intensive green roofs are the type of green roof that makes your home stand out for the general public. These green roofs are ultimately an elevated park with shrubs, trees, gardens, sun based boards, enhancement spaces, etc. This requires a layer of developing medium/soil to support a lot of thicker vegetation.

Of course, the roofs have the advantages of cooling and stormwater absorption like the extensive green roof yet they also have the added benefits of creating livelihoods, and ultimately being a lovely place for recreation in an urban setting.

Intensive green roofs
Intensive green roof

This type of green roof has a significantly higher cost of maintenance. Someone needs to spend time and resources to think things through. In addition, it is more difficult for structural engineers because the weight of the substrate expected to support intensive green roofs is about 200 pounds per square foot.

These green roof constructions are more common in bigger commercial development, including parks and gardens where recreational use is designed. Intensive roofs require a much larger substrate, as well as the need to develop a water supply system. This requires significantly more consideration and support.

Semi-Intensive Green Roofs

Semi-intensive green roofs are another type of green roof, which is usually a combination of extensive and intensive green roofs. This type of green roof has the advantages of each type and is based on the principles of extensive roofs.

Semi-intensive green roof
Semi-intensive green roof

These types of roofs with a greater depth of substrate growth (100 – 200 mm) can support a more significant variety of plants, but not bushes and trees.

One of the most famous green roofs in the world is Chicago’s City Hall, which is a mixture of intense semi-intensive and extensive green roofs.

Simple Steps to Your Own DIY Green Roof

You can install the green roof on an existing or a new home roof. If you start looking for step-by-step instructions for building a roof garden, you will find a lot of companies selling expensive things. So, having studied the Internet and found out the cost of installation, you may want to start building your own green roof. The extensive green roof is the simplest type to give it a go yourself.

You may want to check if your roof is strong enough to support the weight of a substrate and vegetation. Strengthen the roof, if necessary, with additional joists under the roof and steel frames.

A brief step-by-step direction for building the green roof:

(1) The very first step is to insulate your roof with a water- and root-proof membrane, such as a heavy-duty pond liner to seal all leaks in it.

(2) To retain moisture, roll out a moisture-proof coating that can resist fungi and bacteria.

(3) Cover it with the layer of small stones and large gravel or pebbles around the edge of the roof to provide drainage at the bottom.

(4) Finally, add a substrate layer of 7 to 20 cm thick depending on the type of vegetation. Use a mixture of a substrate of 70 percent inorganic material and 30 percent organic material for lush vegetation growth.

(5) Now you are ready for planting.

Composition of Plants for Green Roofs 

Despite the fact that green roofs are usually planted with sedums and low grasses, the planting palette can be significantly extended to accommodate more than 100 types of plants.

The variety of plants incorporates local prairie and woodland grasses and forbs, solid decorative perennials and grasses, a few types of local and elaborate bushes, and some varieties of trees.

Your DIY green roof is ready. Over the years, you will enjoy all the benefits, including reduced energy bills and extra space for recreation. Would you invest in your own green roof? Please leave your comment below.

Best Tips for Energy-Efficient Appliances in 2020

The construction of energy-efficient homes implies the use of such energy-efficient homes features as the proper home framing, insulation, and quality windows. However, there are many places where you can see how you can make your home more energy-efficient.

Most of your energy bill falls on household appliances such as air heating, and cooling systems, water heating, washing, and drying, refrigeration and light bulbs. Energy-efficient home improvements and appliances can lower your bills and even get you an Energy Tax Credit or other financial incentives. Depending on your country and region, you may have several incentive schemes.

Look for energy-efficient labels!

When buying household appliances, first of all, look for energy-efficient labels! What are Energy-Efficient Labels?

All major household appliances, with the exception of rangers and ovens, must meet the US Department of Energy (DOE) standards and have a black and yellow EnergyGuide Label. You can find these labels on refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, microwave ovens, water heaters, pool heaters, room air conditioners, central air conditioners and heat pumps, furnaces and boilers, and ballasts for fluorescent lamps.

Other appliances, such as televisions, clothes dryers, ranges, and ovens, as well as heaters, were excluded from the EnergyGuide program, although they must also meet federal minimum efficiency standards.

Energy Star® is designed to help customers to choose more energy-efficient products and protect the environment through high energy efficiency. The Energy Star® Program supported by the US EPA and DOE for the efficient use of energy in homes and businesses. Energy Star® certified home appliances exceed federal standards by 10 to 40 percent.

Energy Star® symbol, which is awarded only to products that meet stringent energy efficiency requirements. This applies to equipment, computers and printers, household goods and even new homes! So, knowing this rating system you will save energy and money.

Go Solar!

There are many ways to save energy by applying the latest technology in alternative energies. These are solar energy systems, which can be either the addition of several solar panels to your roof or a complete solar home system.

Renewable Energy Tax Credits are available for alternative energy resources such as solar and small wind turbines. Federal incentives offer a 30 percent credit off the total cost of any qualified photovoltaic or water heating system.

Solar roof panels

Energy-Efficient Doors and Windows

Poor door and window seals allow hot and cold air to pass through. This makes the Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling (HVAC) systems consume more energy, which means higher energy bills.

Energy Star® doors and windows comply with strict energy efficiency guidelines. They will provide you comfort and save energy and money for many years to come. Consider not only the initial price but also the guarantee, the cost of maintenance and the quality of the company that sells them.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Appliances can add up to 15 to 20 percent of overall energy usage and operational costs to your home. Therefore, it is recommended choosing the right size and maintaining them properly.

When purchasing be sure all your household appliances are  Energy-efficient appliances that will help you save even more energy.

Heating and Cooling Systems

Energy-efficient HVAC systems save most of your home energy that means fewer energy bills. No matter where your home is located, you want to have a comfortable home temperature without increasing your electricity bills.

Try to install ceiling fans wherever possible, especially in rooms with high ceilings. Be sure to select only fans approved by Energy Star®, as they are approximately 20 percent more efficient than the average ceiling fan. Consider installing insulated window shades or blinds on the sunny side of your home. These strategies will help you to stay cool while cutting your air conditioning (AC) costs.

Water Heating System

Water heating at home is the second in energy consumption after residential heating and cooling. Energy Star® water heating can cut your energy bill in half.

Tankless Water Heater

Energy-efficient tankless water heaters are one of the best innovations of the last decade. The advantage of these heaters is that you do not need to constantly heat the water in the tank during periods when you are not using hot water. They only heat water when you need it, so you can save money and energy.

Consult an experienced plumber to assess the need for hot water in your home. Most Energy Star® qualified tankless models will qualify for a Federal tax credit.

Solar Water Heater

The advantage of a Solar Water Heating System is that it uses the free energy of the sun. These solar systems can work anywhere regardless of climate. An energy-efficient solar heating system can reduce the hot water energy consumption and an electricity bill in half.

With any solar system, you want to have an efficient backup system. The best way to supplement the solar water system is to install tankless water heaters, so you call them up as needed. Like all renewable energy products, a solar heating system qualifies for many tax incentives and discounts.

Stainless steel refrigerator
Stainless steel refrigerator. Photo by Alex Qian from Pexels
Refrigerators

The new energy-efficient refrigerator is the best choice for investment, to save energy and money in the long run. When purchasing an energy-efficient refrigerator, consider the starting price, maintenance costs, and operating costs.

Thermostats

Keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature, without overheating and overcooling, and turn off the heater and air conditioning when nobody is at home. In extreme climatic conditions, when it is impossible to completely turn them off, you can certainly adjust them so that they consume less energy.

If you are often away from home, consider a programmable thermostat. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature of your home in advance. This way you will save energy and money while you’re not at home.

Clothes Washers and Driers

If you have an older washing machine, it probably consumes more hot water and energy, which means a higher energy bill for you. If you need a new washing machine, look for an energy-efficient washing machine that will save energy and money. In general, Front Loading Washers use less energy and less water than Top Loading Washers.

To reduce energy consumption, you can always find a clothes dryer with a good energy rating. These energy-saving appliances will save energy and money in your pocket.

Energy-Saving Dishwashers

Energy-efficient dishwashers are one of the most common appliances in the kitchen and expensive to maintain because it uses not just electricity but also ample amounts of water. Dry dishes without heat and you will save energy and water.

Energy-Efficient and Solar Lighting

It’s important to ensure that you use energy-efficient lighting such as LEDs, CFLs, and halogen bulbs as well as outdoor solar lighting. Energy-efficient lighting will benefit you with a lower energy bill and will save the environment.

Summing up, always purchase appliances with the Energy Star® label, in particular, a washing machine and dishwasher, as they typically consume 50 percent less water and electricity.

With these simple steps, you will not only save money on your electricity bills but also create a healthier home environment and reduce environmental pollution.

Tesla Developments for Sustainable Transportation

Tesla’s mission is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.”

Tesla Motors’ journey began back in 2003. Since then, Tesla has created four powerful products – electric vehicles, which include Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y. Each of these products works very well in the market. Tesla is now expanding its automotive production with 8 programs for vehicles at various stages of development.

Here are the 8 vehicle programs:

  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model X
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Tesla Model Y
  • Tesla Roadster next-gen
  • Tesla Minibus
  • Tesla Pickup truck
  • Tesla Semi

Tesla Electric Cars

Here are Tesla electric vehicles coming by the end of the decade:

Tesla Model S

This year will also be important for Model S and Model X. Both cars have long been in need of updating. Indeed, Tesla is constantly making changes to cars, but not in the way other manufacturers do.

This will be a significant update to the interior and technical specifications, which will allow Model S and Model X to increase their demand in the second half of the year.

Tesla Model 3

Obviously, 2018 was the year for Model 3, but Tesla will sell them even more in 2019. By the end of the year, production is expected to increase to 10 thousand cars per week.

Tesla may increase demand for the base version of Model 3 with a standard battery. This is a mid-size sedan that starts at $ 35,000, with a maximum charge of more than 215 miles per battery. Moreover, Tesla is planning to expand Model 3 markets in 2019 and plans to sell it in Europe and Asia.

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y is an all-electric hybrid vehicle based on a third-age stage similar to Model 3. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said the entrance to the ‘Bird of Prey Wing’ office would look like a Model X vehicle.

In 2019, the presentation of the new crossover from Tesla Model Y was shown on March 15, 2019, as well as previous models, it can also be reserved. This was the first presentation since the last one, which took place in November 2017, at which the Semi and Roadster were shown.

Its production is expected to begin in mid-2020 at Gigafactory 1, however, all new details about the production will be disclosed at the presentation.

Tesla Pickup

Elon Musk spoke very clearly that the Tesla Pickup truck will be the company’s priority after Model Y, but third-generation vehicles, Model 3 and Model Y are currently needed.

Musk confirmed that Tesla will launch a pickup truck and that it should be created in the next 3-4 years (2019-2020). Tesla expected to build on the back an all-electric cargo van, which will be designed for his pickup truck. Musk recently said that Tesla may introduce a prototype pickup in 2019.

The last Tesla Cybertruck arrived in November this year. The Cybertruck has a futuristic design that combines a sports car and a medium-duty truck.

Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla Minivan

The electric Minibus was a separate project and an important achievement for Tesla. Elon Musk claimed that the vehicle was based on the Model X chassis, which facilitates its generation. In his ‘Master Plan’, Musk called the vehicle a “High Passenger-Density Urban Transport Vehicle”.

Tesla Minibus is another promising vehicle at the main stages of development.

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi is an all-electric heavy truck program developed by previous Tesla Model S Director Jerome Guillen, Tesla Vice President of Vehicle Programs.

Here is the relevant part of the Master Plan: “In addition to consumer vehicles, two other types of electric vehicles are required: heavy trucks and high-density public transport, both of which are in the initial stages of development in Tesla and should be ready for opening next year. This Tesla CMS cargo will significantly reduce the cost of transportation, and security will increase, and he will really enjoy the operation. ”

Tesla plans to produce it this year. Even if production begins in 2019, we can expect extremely small batches.

Musk mentioned the same timeline for the unveiling and production in their ‘Master Plan’: “6 to 9 months”, the concept of the unveiling, which should be in mid-2017.  It will be delivered within the next 3 to 4 years (2019-2020).

Tesla Semi
Tesla Semi

Tesla Bus Concept

Electric buses around the world will significantly reduce demand for diesel. According to a Bloomberg New Energy report, switching to electric vehicles at the early stage is driven by buses.

Tesla is undoubtedly a leader in innovation in the field of green technologies, so it was always expected that they would offer an environmentally friendly alternative to public buses that consume gas.

Back in May 2017, Tesla CEO Elon Musk questioned the electric bus development project signed by Tesla. According to The Verge, Musk said the vehicle was under development to be presented by the end of 2017.

“I don’t know if the bus thing really makes sense in a shared and completely autonomous environment,” Musk answered the question about the project. “If it costs less than a bus ticket to use a shared autonomy fleet to go where you want, point to point, why don’t you just use it? So I don’t know”. Musk then added that according to him traffic and urban density “can be completely lightened with tunnels”, referring to a bizarre project aimed at creating an underground tunnel system.

Tesla motorhome
Tesla Bus – The Motorhome

Tesla and Public Transport

The experience of Tesla Motors has become the springboard for Proterra’s electric bus business, which today is one of North America’s major brands with zero emissions tires. Other competitors are Canadians New Flyer and Chinese BYD.

Tesla’s CEO’s antipathy towards public transport is well known: “I think public transport is painful. It sucks. Why do you want to get on something with a lot of other people, that doesn’t leave where you want it to leave, doesn’t start where you want it to start, doesn’t end where you want it to end? And it doesn’t go all the time”, he said.

Musk ruled out the production of a regular-sized real bus; the door remained open for a vehicle with 10 or 12 seats.

Musk’s preference for vans was confirmed in a tweet published by Musk in November 2018, in which he looks forward to a collaboration with Daimler (an early investor in Tesla shares) to produce an electric van.

In January 2019, Tesla CEO announced that the company has released all of its more than 200 patents for electric cars. “Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport,” Musk wrote on Tesla’s website. “Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers. We believe that applying the open-source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.”

Why Should Animal Fur Be Banned?

During the Stone Age, people wore animal fur to survive the cold winter seasons. Later fur clothes became luxury items and a representation of status and glamor.

Top designers’ brands signed the verdict banning real fur from future collections. These are Burberry, Coach, Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Maison Martin Margiela, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Donna Karan/DKNY, Versace and Chanel. The Chanel fashion house banned both fur and exotic skins from its collections in favor of sustainable materials. However, fur is still being used by some fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta and others.

Last month Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II announced that they will never wear animal fur and will replace it with an animal-free sustainable alternative. The Queen has banned fur on all of her new outfits, she will however not dispose of existing fur items in her wardrobe.

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) president Ingrid Newkirk has written to the Queen to grant ECOPEL fur replacement on her ceremonial robes with faux fur. “Our faux fur is already celebrated by fashion royalty, but we want to prove that it’s also fit for a queen,” said ECOPEL Director Christopher Sarfati.

New Eco-friendly Fashion Designers

A new wave of eco-friendly fashion designers is promoting cruelty-free outerwear from faux fur. The coats and jackets look incredibly glamorous and even luxurious. The top faux fur designer brands are House of Fluff, Faz Not Fur, N’ONAT, Shrimps, Spirit Hoods, Only Me, the Culthread, Dagmar and others.

The designers provide a guilt-free option and high-quality ethical design. Some of them donate part of their profits towards animal conservation charities and various animal rights organizations. Obviously, cruelty-free fashion is the most desirable option for all animal lovers.

Eco-innovations in Fashion Design

Eco-friendly materials can replace Stone Age habit of animal fur wearing. For example, the Culthread brand makes insulation in their fake-fur lined puffer jackets with Thermore 100% produced from recycled plastic bottles. The Only Me brand insulates their coats with a heat-retaining, breathable material called Thinsulate, which provides warmth even better than real fur.

ECOPEL, the world’s leading luxury faux producer, developed plant-based and recycled synthetic materials as well as faux fur made from recycled plastics. As a result, the faux fur made from recycled polyester helped to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 71 percent.

Eco-conscious designer Stella McCartney has long used vegan leather and is dedicated to only using sustainable materials in her collections. She recently launched first plant-based faux fur called Koba Fur-Free-Fur made by Ecopel with DuPont Sorona corn fibers and recycled polyester.

She was at first confused about her using faux fur: “I’d done fake fur many, many years ago, and I’d really questioned whether it was appropriate to do it and if it was necessary. Because fake fur now looks so real, I was afraid that I was promoting real fur, but I created these fur-free labels that will be on the outside of products so you can actually tell people it’s not,” she said in her Vogue interview.

Stella McCartney plant-based faux fur
Stella McCartney plant-based faux fur

Environmental Impact

More than 100 million animals are raised and killed for their fur every year. Over 95 percent of the fur comes from farm animals. Numerous scientific reports indicate that fur production causes severe health problems for farm animals on all fur farms.

The fur is promoted as a natural and environmentally friendly product, however, it’s hidden from our eyes that the fur industry is quite polluting. Fur production requires chemicals before it’s used in clothing and other products.

The first environmental problems caused by fur production, is the requirement of land, water, feed, energy and other resources for the farm breeding of the animals. The fur is treated with poisonous chemicals and heavy metals for the processing of leather. These chemicals contribute significantly to land, water, and air pollution. Moreover, they are toxic to human health causing health problems to fur factories workers such as skin and eye disorders and increased cancer risk.

According to the World Bank analysis the fur industry belonged in the top 5 which cause the heaviest metal pollution. The poisonous chemicals can also be damaging to fur wearers. Research in the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark showed that some fur products contain residues from poisonous chemicals that contain carcinogens. Some of the harmful substances were even found on children’s fur outwear.

The fur is also bad for the environment because the production of fur requires a lot of energy and resources, and causes greenhouse gasses emission and environmental pollution. According to Dutch research organization CE-Delft, the production of mink fur causes the emission of greenhouse gasses more than 10 times higher than those of plant-based textiles. On the contrary, the production of faux fur was 3 to 10 times more environmentally friendly than the real fur production.

Animal Fur Ban By Countries

California is the first state in the U.S. to ban fur, announced by the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, banning the sale of animal fur products. PETA applauded Newsom for a statewide fur ban: “PETA pushed hard and thousands of our supporters wrote to their representatives in support of the ban.” “This lifesaving measure will prevent animals from being beaten, electrocuted, and skinned alive for environmentally toxic items that compassionate shoppers no longer want and top designers no longer use.”

Fur farming ban has become the global anti-fur movement. The first countries to ban fur farming were the United Kingdom (2000) and Austria (2004). Other countries introducing fur farming ban include Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Czech Republic. The Netherlands passed a ban and will phase-out fur production entirely by 2024. In 2018, Norway passed a fur farming, after a phase-out period until 2025. Most recently, Slovakia joined the ban in October 2019, to end fur production by 2025. Ireland, Montenegro, and Bulgaria are currently considering the fur farming ban.

Fur farming was phased-out in Germany and Sweden due to stricter welfare regulations. Japan and Spain accepted the Invasive Alien Species Acts to close down the last mink farms in 2016. Other U.S. states and countries accepted the fur trade ban.

What can you do? Refuse to buy and wear clothes that containing any fur components. Share your awareness about the negative impact of the fur industry with your community. Promote an environmentally friendly and cruelty-free lifestyle.

Only animals should wear natural fur because they own it.

Green Roof Buildings

Green roofs, or what is also called living roofs, are underutilized spaces in an urban environment, yet any landscape, garden or park can be installed on a building or structure. Over the past 30 years, green roof constructions have become part of urban architecture in many cities around the world.

Modern green roofs were first developed in the 1960s in Germany. In the course of recent years, roofs have turned into the focal point of quiet yet steady progress through the use of green roof technology in Europe. Cities such as Stuttgart in Germany and Copenhagen in Denmark are known for their many green roofs. About 20-25 percent of the roofs in Stuttgart are green and around the country 10 percent of green roofs. These successes were largely achieved through government incentives.

France Mandates Green Roofs

In 2015, France passed a law that mandated all new commercial buildings built in the country to be at least in part covered by green roofs or solar panels.

Marcel Sembat High School in Sotteville Les Rouen, France
Marcel Sembat High School in Sotteville Les Rouen, France. Source: https://inhabitat.com

The green roofs are turning into widespread constructions of buildings around the world. These types of green roofs have many interesting features, from lowering the maintenance cost to reducing stormwater runoff.

One of the main reasons why these roofs have become widely popular is their ability to minimize the urban heat island effect. According to research green roof can reduce the temperature of cities by 1-2 degrees Celsius.

Green roofs of Jean Moulin High School in Revin, France
Jean Moulin High School in Revin, France. Source: https://lostateminor.com

It is very important that properly planned green roofs can imitate natural processes. Thus, even the thinnest green roof can adequately absorb most of the rainfall, reverse the effects of urban heat islands and create a natural habitat for urban-dwelling animals. They also properly insulate structures, providing energy efficiency, extend the life of the roofing layer, increase the value of a real estate and significantly improve the urban design.

Gallery of Escape Bienvenue, France
Gallery of Escape Bienvenue, France. Source: https://www.archdaily.com

Green Roof Buildings in North America

While Europeans have been getting a charge out of these advantages for a considerable length of time, Americans have only recently started to grasp them. Toronto was the first city in North America to pass a Green Roof By-law in January 2010 that required green roofs must be incorporated into the structure of every single new building.

Green roof buildings in downtown Toronto
Green roof buildings in downtown Toronto. Source: https://www.daliform.com/

With the population growth, it is becoming increasingly difficult to discover green space in the city. Toronto is battling this with its recently delegated Green Roof by-law. Toronto City Council mandated by-law is an incredible achievement for green living.

“Toronto’s by-law provides a new opportunity to strengthen the emerging practice of integrated green building design,” said Steven W. Peck, the president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. “[It] breaks new ground on how to structure a mandatory green roof requirement.”

Vancouver Convention Centre green roof
Vancouver Convention Centre green roof. Source: https://dailyhive.com

Although the United States does not have nationwide green roof law, there are financial incentives and initiatives/programs that promote green roofs in many cities across the country, including Chicago, New York, Portland, and Washington. In addition, green roofs provide LEED certification, environmental remediation and extend the service life twice as long as conventional roofs.

Chicago City Hall Green Roof

One of the world’s most outstanding green roofs is Chicago’s City Hall that is a mix of intensive and extensive green roofs. Finished in 2001, the rooftop garden was intended to test various sorts of green roof systems, warming and cooling benefits, achievement paces of local and non-local vegetation, and decreases in water spillover.

Chicago City Hall Green Roof
Chicago City Hall Green Roof. Credit: TonyTheTiger/Wikimedia Commons

The three systems coordinated into the plan incorporate lightweight soils at 4, 6 and 18 creeps top to bottom. These changing green roof systems are perceived individually as extensive, semi-intensive, and intensive green roofs. Soils were created utilizing lightweight soil blend rules created in Germany in the course of recent years.

Like every green roof, the City Hall rooftop garden improves air quality, preserves vitality, diminishes tempest water spillover and reduces the effects of urban heat islands. The garden’s plants reflect heat, give shade and help cool the encompassing air through evapotranspiration, which happens when plants discharge or come to pass water through pores in their leaves. The water draws heat as it dissipates, cooling the air all the while. Plants additionally channel the air, which improves the air quality by utilizing overabundance carbon dioxide to create oxygen.

The plantings are composed in a sunburst design, which regards the evenness of the memorable City Hall and gives an arrangement for organizing gatherings of plants over the three distinctive roof systems.

In total, the City Hall planted more than 3,500 species of plants and more than 150 species of animals in the 3,530-meter space.

New York City Green Roofs

In New York City, there are about 730 buildings covered with green roofs. Although this represents only 0.1 percent of the city’s 1 million buildings, their number is increasing every year. The Javits Center has the largest green roof, while smaller green roofs cover private homes, schools, and farms such as Brooklyn Grunge.

New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Source: http://www.wc3design.com

The Javits Convention Center is home to NYC’s largest green roof, built-in 2014. The nearly 7-acre green roof features 14 different varieties of Sedum plants. The green roof reduces energy consumption by 26 percent and prevents about 6.8 million gallons of water runoff every year. In addition, the roof provides habitat for more than a dozen different species of birds.

Green roofs help NYC combat the urban heat island effects, which are expected to worsen with climate change. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more Americans die from the effects of the urban heat island than from other natural disasters.

New York City’s goal is to reconstruct old pre-war buildings to improve energy efficiency in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. Local laws set carbon limits and heavy fines starting in 2024.

California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco
California Academy of Sciences. Source: https://archiscapes.files.wordpress.com

The introduction of this lightweight green roof construction technology is expanding worldwide as cities from around the world learn about the benefits of vast extensive green roofs. In 1999, the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities association was founded in North America, which has held annual Green Roof conferences since 2003.

Thus, green roofs have great advantages for growing cities in combating the effects of urban heat islands, greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and providing a habitat for birds and animals. Green roof technologies are becoming more affordable and efficient. Cities with a growing population should become more sustainable and resilient to climate change and other challenges of the future.

What about the city where you live? Is it sustainable and has joined green roof initiatives? How do you want to see it in the future? Please leave your comment below.