Green Roof Learning Center

Climate Change

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With carbon emissions from industrial work rising, Rhodium Group — a research institution that analyzes global economic and environmental trends — found that in 2018, carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. rose 3.4 percent from the prior year. Thereby making it the second-largest gain since the previous two decades. With all of this carbon emitted from power plants, cars, planes, and many more, the global temperature has risen significantly. In the past 10 years, there have been 21,461 record daily highs and 11,466 lows.

How can green roofs help?

Burlington National Airport

With the climate changing, green roofs have particular benefits that will help reduce the effects. Plants on the green roof offer to capture airborne pollutants, atmospheric deposition, and filter noxious gases. Next, the stabilizing effect on the temperature that green roofs have is enough to reduce the demand on power plants and thus, lowering the carbon footprint of a building. Lastly, another way that green roofs can help is by providing green spaces which are “naturally” cooled places without the need for mechanical assistance. An example would be trees that are planted on intensive roofs that allow for people to be underneath the shade and rather than just a flat roof.

An example would be found at a University of Michigan study from 2006, where it was found that over the life of the green roof it was saving up to $239,897 in 2016 dollars from energy-saving abilities. Green roofs absorb much of the heat from the sun, causing the rooftop to be about 80 degrees cooler in the summer and insulate in the winter. Overall, According to the EPA, the Chicago City Hall Green Roof saves approximately $3,600 in HVAC costs annually.

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