The jury’s still out on whether this green roof is a success or not. It was installed over a year ago on the top of this new annex to this urban shopping mall; clumps of grass were planted and diligently watered in the beginning. However, I haven’t seen much in the way of maintenance or watering going on, and the lower portion especially looks brown and neglected. The upper portion (top left in photo) is beginning to look like a meadow, and that’s good.
A recent article in the International Herald Tribune states that Germany is leading the world in the use of green roofs, but that Austria and Switzerland and getting in on the game too,
“with many local authorities requiring new buildings to include one or both.” Green roofs “cool the surrounding air by as much as 3 degrees to 11 degrees Celsius, or 5.4 degrees to 19.8 degrees Fahrenheit, reducing the absorption of heat from the sun and evaporating water from their plants back into the air – “sort of like sweating so they cool off the building,” Dunnett said. That, in turn, cuts air conditioning bills.
Another benefit is the creation of bird and insect habitats, adding to urban biodiversity.”
In America, the interest in green roofs seems to have been more of an individual thing (I’m thinking of the urban rooftop gardens in large cities), but WGBH is putting one in, joining Boston’s World Trade Center, the Four Seasons Hotel, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boylston Street Apple Store as Boston’s green roof pioneers. Good on ya, WGBH!