Editorial: Roof Gardens

With global warming showing no signs of relenting, cities all over the world are fighting back with flora.  From vertical gardens to overflowing window boxes, people are becoming increasingly creative in their gardening.  By far the most creative way to cultivate flora is a “green roof.”  Green roofs are exactly what they sound like: a roof of a building that’s waterproofed and covered with vegetation. They have countless benefits, as they produce additional oxygen and absorb excess rainfall.

As anyone at Schreiber knows, the upper floor of the building can be stiflingly hot, due to the black asphalt roof, which absorbs heat and counters the effects of fans and air conditioning.  A green roof would act as a natural insulator, keeping the building cooler in the summer and early fall and preventing heat loss during the winter, and research indicates that green roofs could significantly lower the cost of air conditioning and heating.

There are two main types of green roofs, both of which are definitely worth considering: extensive and intensive.  The former is ideal for large areas and requires little maintenance.

Of course, certain factors must be taken into consideration.  Extensive green roofs, which are lighter than intensive green roofs, can add ten to fifteen pounds per square foot to a roof’s load, according to Greensulate, a green roof installation company based in New York City.  Schreiber would need to have someone calculate how much weight the roof would bear, and if it met the requirements, a green roof could be installed quickly and efficiently.

An extensive green roof would be a perfect fit for Schreiber, as it would allow the school to use more space for the green roof with less weight per square foot.  Stocking the green roof with drought-resistant, hardy plants would ensure that the green roof would last a long time.  According to Greensulate, green roofs are expected to last for about fifty years.  Intensive green roofs support a wider variety of plants, and can even be used to grow produce, but these are more expensive and put more weight on the roof itself.

More and more buildings are going green all over the world, and Schreiber can become one of these environmentally sustainable buildings by creating a green roof.