Monday, April 14, 2014
Week 12 Post
The 'Green Rooftop' concept that is being popularized by many forward thinking urban communities piqued my interest immediately after reading about it in the Sussman article because it seemed like a simple and almost effortless way to integrate environmentally friendly and beneficial concepts into already existing structures. The basic idea of the green rooftop is that having plants and grasslands on vacant rooftops drastically decreases the "heat island effect" that is becoming more of a problem as dark, empty rooftops absorb radiation from the sun and re emit it into the atmosphere, compounding heating. Adding basic plots of vegetation and greenery to these rooftops is a minimal demand on both government regulators and needs almost no lobbying in the public to convince homeowners to commit to. Due to it's simplicity and effectiveness, I was interested to see if the green rooftop has already been implemented seriously in any cities and the result of the change, knowing that if it generally saw a success, the concept could be quick and make a heavy impact on solar heating. An important instance of the green rooftop being used is over the Chicago City Hall. The massive building with a vast rooftop approved a plan that was completed in 2001 to install an extensive network of grasses, flowers, and other vegetation in varying levels of soil on the roof of the structure. The vegetation is ordered in varying soil thickness to respond to the different needs of plants throughout the season, and is visible to 33 structures that stand taller than the city hall. What would previously be water run off or rain water drained into pipes and emptied elsewhere in the city is now feeding and assisting this growing environmental health booster. Although extensive studies are not available, the initial results from the city hall green rooftop are extremely encouraging. Being converted from a traditional black tar rooftop, the structure has a measured temperature 78 degrees cooler than surrounding buildings in the summer. The feedback heating experienced in the atmosphere as well as the temperature flux seen inside the building on hot days have been effectively cut, which is a huge help in the increased movement towards green rooftops and other procedures that assist environmental consciousness and benefit.