Green roofs spring up in American cities

Green roofs spring up in American cities

The interest in green roofs is continuing to increase, particularly in metropolitan locations. In addition to its environmental benefits, the benefits include reduced energy use, which reduces global warming, management of rainwater runoff, and distribution of locally farmed products to urban markets.

“Green roof” is a catch-all term for those roofs that reflect sunlight and reduce energy costs. “White roofs,” which reflect sunlight and save on cooling costs, are also green. Water retention roofs are green roofs as well. “Solar roofs” that provide heat or electricity are green, as well as “living roofs,” which are covered with soil and plant life to insulate and obstruct runoff. 


Edible roof gardens are very much in vogue these days, although the concept is not new at all. A “soddy,” an all-sod house, is vividly depicted in a diorama at the Nebraska Historical Society. Let us rewind and recall that cows were also grazing on the roof. 


There are two broad categories of living roofs: extensive and intense. The roof is covered in dirt from one to six inches deep, with a ground cover used to decorate it. To allow for a range of planting options, including those suitable for growing vegetables, shrubs, and floral plants, the roof on a property might need to be extended to enhance the soil depth beneath.


In the past, rooftop gardens were also known as intensive roof gardens. Even though it provides insulation and runoff advantages, it is still valid. The first step in designing a living roof is to develop the roof structure. Support for extended roofs adds anything from 15 to 35 pounds per square foot. Depending on the depth of the soil and the type and quantity of soil containers utilized, roofing can contribute anywhere from 200 lbs per square foot to several hundred pounds per square foot. It is also necessary to include the weight of water when calculating structural load. 


Although it may appear complicated at first, when rooftop farming can be a source of wealth, these seemingly impossible limits become more doable. Gardening on urban rooftops offers fresh food and saves money because the products don’t have to be shipped vast distances. New York City is prepared to provide 1,200 acres of commercial rooftop space to produce vegetables. Commercial rooftop farming is not the only kind of rooftop farming. There is also a school in Manhattan starting a new lunch program by raising nutritious (preferably organic) food for the students. As well as being included in the school’s math and science curriculum, gardening activities will be included in the curriculum. Check your local ordinances and do some research. Who knows, maybe you can benefit from this concept, too, and have fresh veggies on your urban rooftop.

The Healthy Outdoors