A Green Roof You Can Live On — With Solar Panels!

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A Green Roof You Can Live On — With Solar Panels!

January 17, 2009
12:00am

Since there is precious little space to grow things in a city, the roof has become the new green frontier. And though we have been slower to green our roofs than in Europe and some parts of Asia, we have at least become aware of the benefits of a green roof. And many building companies are playing catch up with the demands of new green construction while others are leading the way. I must admit as a garden designer I did not know much about green roof technology just a few year ago. I thought that a green roof was only one that was planted directly on the roofs membrane, and that the energy saving benefits were substantial but no one could walk on it.

I thought the idea was cool but didn't really see how I could apply the principals in my work designing roof gardens and terraces for clients in New York City.  Every one hiring me lives or works in the space they are asking me to garden. They live in a crowded city with very little grass or even trees within walking distance. They spent a lot of money for their condo, home, office or restaurant  because it has outdoor space and they want to walk and eat and sit on it, not simple look at it. So to ask them to give up that space entirely to plants would be unthinkable. I needed to come up with a way to combine the technologies and philosophy of the green roof with the desire to LIVE on the roof. I believe if more city folk spent more time around trees and plants they would be a much happier bunch. And as I live with them I could see how this was going to benefit me as well.