Are 'Green Roofs' the Next Eco-Friendly Initiative for Baltimore?

Sourced from WBALTV 11

Like many regions of the country, the Baltimore area struggles with its share of environmental concerns, such as flooding and pollution in the watershed and air. Some say a solution is right above our heads.

"A green roof is a way to put natural growing systems up on roofs, and it's about taking advantage of benefits that nature provides and using that wonderful, unused space of rooftops," said Nancy Somerville, CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Somerville said green roofs, such as the one atop the ASLA building in Washington, D.C., have been common in Europe for decades, and the concept is growing here in the U.S.

The agricultural roofs are initially more expensive than traditional roofs but can save on heating and cooling costs over time. Proponents argue the greater upfront expense is worth it for the environmental benefits, especially in this region of the country where we've experienced devastating flooding.

"A green roof will hold storm water. What releases will be released slower, over a longer period of time that helps to mitigate any kind of flooding. It also provides the cleaning of the water -- the plants and the soil are very important for that -- and they cool it. So what you end up with (is) less water, cooler water and a cleaner watershed," Somerville said.

Michael Furbish is the president and founder of Baltimore company Furbish, which develops and installs green roofs.

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