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Posts Tagged ‘green roofs’

Rooftops in New York City: Climate change responses

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on June 20th, 2012

The Guardian site is hosting a series of videos from the Climate Desk about New York’s rooftop revolution.  The three high quality videos – each with site visits and interviews – take the viewer through an overview of emerging projects in the area of green roofs, solar harvesting, and white roofs.


Keeping Stormwater Out of the Sewer System: Green Roofs

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on June 6th, 2011

Source: Environmental Research Web

From “Columbia researchers find green roof is a cost-effective way to keep water out of sewers“:

Green roofs like the one atop a Con Edison building in Long Island City, Queens can be a cost-effective way to keep water from running into sewer systems and causing overflows, Columbia University researchers have found. The Con Edison Green Roof, which is home to 21,000 plants on a quarter acre of The Learning Center, retains 30 percent of the rainwater that falls on it. The plants then release the water as vapor, the researchers said in the study (

If New York City’s 1 billion square feet of roofs were transformed into green roofs, it would be possible to keep more than 10 billion gallons of water a year out of the city sewer system, according to the study led by Stuart Gaffin, research scientist at Columbia’s Center for Climate Systems Research. New York City, like other older urban centers, has a combined sewer system that carries storm water and wastewater. The system often reaches capacity during rains and must discharge a mix of storm water and sewage into New York Harbor, the Hudson River, the East River and other waterways. Con Edison built the green roof and formed its research partnership with Columbia in 2008. The partners saw the green roof and an adjoining white roof as an outdoor laboratory for environmental research. Gaffin’s team found last year that the green roof and white roof save energy and reduce urban air temperatures. Under its “cool roofs” program, Con Edison has turned many roofs on company facilities white to save energy and protect the environment.

“The information we are collecting from Con Edison’s roofs is invaluable in helping us determine the costs and benefits of green infrastructure projects,” Gaffin said. “Without solid data from experiments like this, it is impossible for us to know which projects are the best options for protecting the environment.” “When we built our green roof we were confident that researchers from Columbia would gain important knowledge about protecting the environment,” said Saddie Smith, vice president for Facilities for Con Edison. “Three years later, it’s clear that our project has helped us understand how roofs can save energy, cool the atmosphere and prevent storm water runoff.”

The researchers used instrumentation to measure sunlight, and other forms of energy entering and leaving the green roof. That data allowed them to calculate the amount of energy leaving the roof in the form of water vapor. The study concluded that based on the cost of building and maintaining a green roof it costs as little as 2 cents a year to capture each gallon of water.

This article is from Columbia University via Environmental Research Web.

Super Short Supply Chain: Supermarket Roof Garden

Posted in Models by Rob Eales on March 15th, 2011


© Food From The Sky

From  “The supermarket growing food on its roof” by Laura Barnett:

Of all the things you might reasonably expect to be doing on a blustery March day, standing on the roof of a supermarket and dragging a rake through a bag of decaying vegetables is probably not one of them. I am on top of Thornton’s Budgens supermarket in Crouch End, north London, which volunteers have transformed from a flat expanse of concrete into a flourishing potted garden and vegetable patch.

The project, called Food from the Sky, is an unusual exercise in the principles of permaculture and sustainable gardening, and is the brainchild of former silversmith and art consultant Azul-Valerie Thome. It opened last May, when a crane lifted 10 tonnes of compost and 300 green recycling boxes donated by Haringey Council on to the roof. Now the garden is producing enough vegetables to sell in the aisles downstairs every Friday, and has just won a community prize at the Co-operative’s annual People and Environment Achievement Awards.

On a quick tour of the garden, Thome and several volunteers show me an impressive array of vegetables – from peas and potatoes to kale and purple sprouting broccoli – alongside flowers, tiny strawberry and raspberry plants, and a composting area. Here, fruit and vegetables left unsold each day in Budgens are mulched, along with woody branches and soil, by the 20 local people who volunteer in the garden.

Volunteer Peter Budge tells me the conditions are perfect for the plants: the warmth from the supermarket’s heating and lighting systems comes up through the roof, sparing the seeds the worst of the frosts – and there are no slugs or snails, while marauding pigeons are deterred by CDs hanging from the perimeter fence. “It might seem mad that we’re growing things up here,” Budge says, “and it is. But it really works.”


Read the full article by Laura Barnett on The Guardian.

Toronto City Hall: Green Roof Showcase

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on September 28th, 2010

Source: MetropolisMag

Image: padraic via flickr CC

Last year Toronto became the first North American city to make green roofs law. All new residential, commercial, and institutional buildings larger than 21,500 square feet are now required to plant at least a portion of their roofs. (Industrial structures must follow suit next year.) But the city didn’t stop at just setting the rules. It has also created a vibrant case study: a 118,000-square-foot public roof garden atop the podium building of city hall.

“The city has really been pushing the green side of construction and wanted to lead by example,” says Bruce Bowes, Toronto’s chief corporate officer. “A number of projects have been undertaken at city hall. One is the roof podium. Others include hooking up to a deep-lake water-cooling system and adding building-automation systems.” The green roof, which makes the building more energy efficient and helps with storm-water management, is the first phase of a revitalization project for Nathan Phillips Square, a broad plaza in front of city hall that is Toronto’s largest public square.

Read the full article by Tim McKeough for Metropolis.

International Skyrise Greenery Conference 2010

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on September 27th, 2010

Source: SustainWeb

Image: padraic via flickr CC

The International Skyrise Greenery Conference 2010 will present the latest technological developments and new areas of application in the field of rooftop greenery and vertical greenery.

Held at the National Library, Singapore, it will serve as a platform where international urban greenery experts from various disciplines will come together with the academia, architects, landscape architects, landscape contractors, policy-makers and stakeholders to discuss the present and future trends of this growing sector.

Topics will include various essential aspects of skyrise greenery such as specifications and installation of rooftop greenery and vertical greenery systems, technical studies of the benefits of skyrise greenery (eg. thermal and energy conservation, air quality improvement, noise mitigation, etc), integration of skyrise greenery with sustainable eco-processes and biodiversity enhancement, incentives and guidelines.

Visit the website for more information:

Green Roofs for Stormwater Management

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on September 24th, 2010

Source: Worldchanging

Image: Rotterdam Climate Initiative

From “Green Roofs in Rotterdam: Studies, Plans, Outreach, and Reducing Flood Risks” by Allison Killing:

Rotterdam’s initiative to promote the creation of green roofs within the city has seen just under 10% of the roofs suitable for this converted into green roofs. The project is part of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative, run by the Rotterdam city council, Port Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency with the aim of reducing the city’s CO2 emissions by 50% and helping the city adapt to climate change.

Although large areas of green roofs have many benefits for cities, such as reducing air pollution and helping to combat the heat island effect, Rotterdam’s priority was for water retention, since the city has a shortage of areas where water can be stored following heavy rainfall. Water management has always been a major concern in the Netherlands, since approximately 60% of the country lies below sea level. The analysis of the potential of green roofs in Rotterdam that preceded the introduction of the subsidies focused heavily on their capacity for water storage in order to reduce peak water discharge following a rain storm and help prevent flooding.

Read the full article on Worldchanging.