The Benefit of Green Roofs in Urban Areas

Green spaces are the new trend for urban areas, however places for parks and gathering areas are becoming scarce in crowded cities. 

High-end apartments, lofts, companies and care centers are incorporating green roofs for their residents, staff and patients. Besides tranquility and a space to be outside, green roofs offer benefits for the environment as well. The three main conservation benefits of green roofs are air quality, reduced storm water runoff, and energy savings.

Better air quality

design3Green roofs improve air quality. They are being implemented to help fight the Urban Heat Island Effect, a condition in which city and suburban developments absorb and trap heat. Through the daily dew and evaporation cycle, plants on vertical and horizontal surfaces are able to cool cities during hot summer months. The light absorbed by vegetation would otherwise be converted into heat energy.

Green roofs can also help reduce the distribution of dust, particulates, gases and smog in a city. This occurs when plants on green roofs capture airborne pollutants.This can play a role in reducing greenhouse gases.

Reduced stormwater runoff

Because of the greenery, living roofs contribute to storm water management. On average, green roofs retain 70-90% of precipitation during the summer and 25-40% during the winter. This helps prevent runoffs and flooding. In turn, potentially lessening the need for complex and expensive drainage systems. Green roofs reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and also delay the time at which runoff occurs, resulting in decreased stress on sewer systems at peak flow periods. Green roofs not only retain rainwater, but also moderate the temperature of the water and act as natural filters for any of the water that happens to run off.

More energy savings

Green roofs last longer than conventional roofs and create natural installation, which reduces energy costs. The greater insulation offered by green roofs can reduce the amount of energy needed to moderate the temperature of a building, as roofs are the sight of the greatest heat loss in the winter and the hottest temperatures in the summer.This could reduce demand on power plants, in turn reducing the amount of CO2 and other pollutants being released into the air.

Our Green Roof Experience

Due to the endless benefits of green roofs, many homeowners, businesses and cities are implementing the trend. As irrigation designers, we appreciate the art, craft and environmental influences green roofs have. One of the several green roof irrigation projects we have worked on is the Mima Roof Terrace.

roof6-2Mima Roof Terrace is a rooftop environment to serve as “the Village Green.” It was designed by HM White Site Architects and won awards with the New York ASLA Chapter and achieved LEED Gold Certification. The site was intensely planted with several differing atmospheres. Even with low water pressure we were able to design an irrigation system that met the site plant needs and yet is very efficient and unobtrusive.