Posts Tagged ‘Green roof’
The race for the largest solar roof in the U.S. is on!
In 2008, the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, unveiled the nation’s largest solar roof—a a 2.36-megawatt system that produces approximately 26% of the center’s power.
But there’s about to be a new solar mayor in town: UK pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline recently announced it plans to build a massive 3.1-megawatt system atop its York, Pennsylvania distribution center. At over 350,000 square feet (about seven football fields) it will be the largest solar roof in the U.S, and produce all of the power for the large facility.
The project will cost an impressive $14 million, but GlaxoSmithKline will receive $4.1 million in federal tax credits, not to mention eliminate its $400,000 annual utility bill.
And the solar fun doesn’t stop there: the pharmaceutical giant plans to start another three-megawatt system at its U.S. headquarters in Pittsburgh next year. The projects work towards GlaxoSmithKline’s goal of reducing its electricity usage 45% by 2015.
We don’t know about you, but the folks here at Cole Roofing could barely be more excited. As eco-conscious roofers, this is just the sort of healthy green competition we like to see. (It’s the green roofing version of football season!) Projects like this make headlines, which get people thinking about solar power and solar roofs. Let the competition begin!
If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, by now you’ve learned a great deal about the benefits of green (or “vegetated”) roofs: Stormwater runoff management, a reduction in the heat island effect, lower utility bills through natural insulation, protection from UV damage. The list goes on and on.
There’s no doubting their benefits, but what if you, either as a homeowner or a facility manager or owner, were mandated by law to have a vegetated roof?
Toronto—where stormwater runoff has been a longtime issue of concern—was the first North American city to require green roofs on new developments. Last year, the Toronto City Council passed a bylaw mandating that all new residential, commercial and institutional buildings with a gross floor area of at least 2,000 square meters (about 21,500 square feet) built after January 31, 2010, have a certain percentage of their roof green. (To see a chart of the city’s green roof coverage requirements, click here. The bylaw will extend to new industrial development in just a few months (all industrial buildings built after January 31, 2011).
The far away metropolis of Tokyo, where government officials are trying to reduce the city’s urban heat island effect, also mandates green roofs on new construction of a certain size. New buildings more than 1,000 square meters (about 10,700 square feet) must green at least 20% of its usable roof space.
What do you think of this? While there are many benefits of green roofs, do you think local governments should be mandating them by law?
To learn more about local government efforts to mandate vegetated roofs, check out this post from Clean Air Through Green Roofs
When you think “Seattle,” what comes to mind? Grunge rock? Starbucks? The Seahawks?
Well, stop thinking flannel and start thinking green. Because the city of Seattle wants to go green in a major way by boosting the number of vegetated roofs within the eco-conscious metropolis.
A recently released report on the city’s green roofs tallied Seattle’s green roofs at 62, totaling some eight acres—about the equivalent of nine football fields. Although this may seem like an impressive amount, city officials want to significantly increase that number.
“That’s a pretty big chunk of land,” Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien told the Seattle Post Intelligencer last month . “[But] when you think about what’s possible in a city like Seattle, that’s just a drop in the bucket.”
Especially when compared to nearby Portland, Oregon, which currently has almost 12 acres of vegetated roofs (not counting the additional 15 acres of rooftop gardens), and has set a goal of a whopping 43 acres of green roofs by 2013.
We here at Cole Roofing are excited to hear of all the enthusiasm surrounding green roofs. Ten years ago, we would have never dreamed of cities vying for a competitive edge when it comes to vegetated roofs. Cities like Chicago and Atlanta may be green roof leaders for the time being, but it won’t be long until other U.S. cities catch up to them. We can’t wait to hear all about it, and help nearby Washington, D.C., and Baltimore jump in headfirst.
After the rain of today and the rain of last night, my mind drifts to storm water runoff.
A vegetated roof allows us to reduce the amount of impervious space we have, especially in our urban environments.
Here is a test we can all do right after a significant rain event. (If your anywhere on the east coast today was a significant rain event!!!)
Go look at a large body of water and make your own opinion on how clean or more likely dirty the water is.
If your in Baltimore go check out the inner harbor tomorrow.
Impervious space allows for 100% of the rain water to become runoff, collecting dirt, trash, oil, gas, and other grime and carrying it directly to bodies of water.
If our buildings had vegetated roofs the impact would be greatly reduced. During normal rain events a vegetated roof will store 75% of the storm water and the other 25% will become runoff but only after hours have passed as it must make it’s way through the plants, media, drainage mats, root barriers, and then finally to the roof and roof drainage system.
This can have a massive impact on the health and cleanliness of our water and the Eco systems that depend on it. Oh and don’t forget the crabs you ate this summer or the oysters you will have this fall.
It is unrealistic to think we can eliminate the roads and sidewalks that contribute to the mass of impervious space in urban environments but the roof can be our opportunity.
Help us share this idea. Visit us at www.greenroofgiveaway.com and tell a nonprofit about it so they can help us make our community a better place.