South Bay Energy: How Green Roofs Can Help Lower Energy Costs
You might have looked outside your office window and seen the next building’s roof covered with a garden. Rooftop gardens have become more common lately as more architects realize their aesthetic value. However, “green roofs”, as these gardens are also known, are more than just pretty places to relax in – they also play a role in reducing energy costs and saving the environment. Here are three reasons green roofs are good for buildings:
1. Green roofs reduce energy use. A typical rooftop garden has as many seven layers, including soil or other growing mediums, a drainage layer, a root barrier, and thermal insulation. Compared to roofs waterproofed with traditional tar, green roofs do not attract heat; instead, they absorb heat. This results in lower cooling costs during the summer and lower heating costs during winter. This results in lower air pollution and greenhouse gas emission levels.
2. Green roofs remove pollutants and provide shade. Some plants are known to absorb pollutants from the air around them and generate oxygen. This helps improve the air quality in the area surrounding the building. The shade also keeps water and heat away, resulting in lower maintenance costs than traditional roofs.
3. Green roofs could help provide power for the building. Many green buildings are equipped with mini-solar farms on their roof decks, which provide power for heating or other purposes. In the future, though, rooftop gardens could produce electricity through other methods, including biomethane, which is fed to methane-fueled power plants, and free-electron harvesting using specialized electrodes and fuel cells.
While installing a green roof might be expensive at first, your business might benefit from a New York City program that offers tax rebates for buildings that install rooftop gardens. In the long run, the energy cost savings you’ll enjoy will pay for the cost of a green roof many times over.