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CORNELL CRP 384 - Green Roofs

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1 Green Roofs: An in-depth look at the public and private Green Roof Initiatives and the application of them to Ithaca and the local area. Green Cities, CRP 3840 Karuna Mehta, Allison Hurtt, Matt Kenney and Claire Moser Introduction “Green Roofs have become a very important component of sustainable urban development within the last 30 years. Growing environmental awareness and the striking economical and ecological advantages are the driving forces for this great success” (International Green Roof Association Website). Since the 1960s when Green Roofs were developed in Germany, they have become more prominent and can now be found in every big city around the world. The public is becoming more familiar with green roof technology as well as more aware of their benefits. Many private corporations have voluntarily installed massive green roofs to reach LEED standards, ensure long-term savings on energy usage, or just to improve their “green” image. On the other hand, many governmental functions, on both the federal and municipal level, encourage green roof technology and regulate environmental standards that include green roofs. In this study, we examine the private and governmental initiatives behind creating green roofs and determine whether these policies can be applied in Ithaca, or another city comparable in size. Jackson Hole, Whyoming; Photo taken by Claire Moser2 Types of Green Roofs Intensive The first of the two main types of green roofs, Intensive roofs, acts as a roof garden or park. Generally, these green roofs require high maintenance and regular watering. They are also very heavy and can include lawns, trees, shrubs, benches, walkways, ponds and playgrounds. There are no limitations or design restrictions as long as the weight is not too extreme for the construction of the roof. However, these roofs are generally expensive both to build and to maintain and not as effective because they do not cover the whole surface. Extensive On the other hand, extensive roofs have a much lighter weight and require low maintenance and irrigation. These roofs are generally covered with moss-sedum herbs, grasses and other low growing ground cover. Although they have high initial installment costs, they have relatively low maintenance costs. Extensive roofs are not meant to be gardens, but instead are virtually self-sustaining living roofs. They are also extremely sun, wind and drought resistant. We will be focusing on extensive green roofs for our study. IGRA, http://www.igra-world.com/types_of_green_roofs/index.php Garland; http://www.garlandco.com/green-roof-types.html IGRA, http://www.igra-world.com/types_of_green_roofs/index.php3 Benefits of Extensive Green Roofs o Storm Water Management o Water Recycling o Reduce Greenhouse effect by absorbing Carbon Dioxide o Reduce the solar refection off of the roof o Create a stepping stone between urban environment and nature or Increase the urban biodiversity o Roof Membrane Protection- a normal roof’s membrane has to be repaired every 20-25 years. It is predicted that an extensive green roof’s membrane will last at least two times as long. o Absorbs heat and reduces building cooling costs o Reduce heating costs by adding insulation o Therapeutic Value o Aesthetic Value o Environmental “Green” Image Private Initiatives Schiphol Plaza Amsterdam International Airport installed one of the first large scale extensive green roofs in 1994 on Schiphol Plaza. This Xero Flo sedum blanket covers 91,431 square feet of roof and stretches across a parking garage and train railway station. It was designed by Benthem Crouwel NACO as a drought resistant mineral based system with a saturation weight of 7.168 pounds per square foot and a saturation depth of 1.57 inches. The roof is accessible but is not open to the public. Ford Motor Company Since 2002, Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn car plant in Michigan currently has the world largest extensive green roof at 10.4 acres (454,000 sf). The roof was installed by Xero Flo green roofing company and designed by architecture and community design firm William McDonough and Partners as part of Ford’s $2 billion revitalization of their River Rouge complex. The Xero Flo roof has a medium depth of approximately one inch deep and consists of 7-9 mm of porous stone, sand, and organic material. Its design is extremely lightweight at 10 pounds per square foot saturated. This calculation includes a mineral wool fleece material that absorbs rainwater. Michigan State University aided with extensive testing of the soil and vegetation. The roof is estimated to retain 447,000 gallons of water per year saving Ford tens of millions of dollars.4 ACROS Fukuoka Building The ACROS Fukuoka building in Fukuako, Japan was designed by Argentinean architect Emilio Ambasz and constructed as a 100,000 square foot park on the roof of a 15-step terrace on the sloping side of this Japanese office building. The site’s innovative design encompasses both a million square feet of offices, exhibition halls, a museum, a theatre and conference facilities underneath a accessible, functional, and stunning green roof park that stretched to the top of its sloping roof. The building was constructed in 1994 and designed to be an added green space in the crowded Japanese financial district streetscape. Greenwashing of Corporations As extensive green roofs throughout the corporate world become more prominent, environmental activists have accused certain companies of installing green roof systems as a “greenwashing” practice. In particular, Ford Motor Company has been accused of such practices during the revitalization and greening of their Dearborn, Michigan plant. While it is considerably more environmentally friendly than most vehicle plants, a multitude of additional changes could be made to dramatically increase its effectiveness. Ford Motor Company has done little to lower energy consumption and pollution output—two major goals in the construction of green buildings. Public Initiatives “Last Year, 30 % more green roofs were installed in North America.” (PR Newswire) Tribeca Green & Solaire Apartment Buildings Battery Park, New York City5 Federal Level: Green roofs can also be used to help comply with the Clean


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