Making a Sustainable Impact with Rooftop Gardens

Sourced from Thrive Global

Rooftop gardens are a wonderful way to transform the urban landscape into an oasis. For commercial buildings, rooftop gardens are a way of bringing greenery into a sterile space. For residential properties with no backyard or that have limited space, a rooftop garden can be a solution and a way of providing a place to relax or to grow plants and vegetables to support a sustainable lifestyle. Landscapers are looking outside the box and figuring out ways to maximize green space as well as reduce energy consumption, discovering the multiple benefits of a green roof.

What are rooftop gardens?

Rooftop gardens are becoming more and more popular at home and abroad, with innovative green spaces bringing the natural environment into otherwise plain, sterile spaces. Rooftop gardens can be either vertical or horizontal, and allow residents or property owners to basically build a backyard atop their dwelling. The want for a rooftop garden can be purely for decorative or aesthetic reasons, or for practical purposes such as a space for a community garden, farming, or as an eco-friendly way to cool your home and save on energy bills.

How rooftop gardens are eco-friendly?

All urban areas such as cities with high-density living are essentially an urban heat island. Solar radiation rapidly heats up man-made materials commonly found in cities such as asphalt and concrete, resulting in a massive pocket of hot air. Cities are also prone to air and noise pollution, resulting in lower air quality and causing health and environmental concerns. Because of this, the use of energy for air conditioning and other cooling equipment have to work harder and for longer. This spike in energy consumption puts a massive strain on energy grids as well as power bills. One of the ways architects and landscapers have proposed to reduce this reliance on man-made energy is by introducing rooftop gardens on homes and commercial buildings. Rooftop gardens are an eco-friendly alternative to cooling the home or building because the shade offered by plants reduces heat flow and increases precipitation, resulting in cooler temperatures and improved air quality.

A study by the National Research Council of Canada found that an exposed roof can get as hot as 158F (70c) on a sunny day; while an identical roof covered with greenery and shade from a rooftop garden stayed relatively cool at a temperature of 77F (25c). In addition to providing natural cooling and reducing energy consumption and costs, rooftop gardens provide natural insulation, can absorb noise to provide a natural sound barrier, delay stormwater runoff, provide filtered rainwater, and also creates a habitat for important wildlife such as insects, bees, and birds.

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