Green roofs are coming

September 7, 2007
By

KAREN L. WEBER


Courtesy Photo A residential green roof installed by Cypress Landscapes, a Roofscapes, Inc, licensed contractor. This house is in Shelter Island, Long Island, NY

A green roof is not just a roof colored green. A green roof, as defined by environmentalists, can be important to homes and built surroundings.

Imagine rooftops covered in plants and flowers, softened and beautified by nature. Imagine clean air; reduced energy needs; no more peak demand during hot spells.

Think of having minimal storm water runoff, reducing flooding, the pollution of our rivers and oceans, and the need for bigger pipes and sewer treatment plants. Imagine the reduction of asthma and allergens. Imagine the creation of new green space for insects, birds and plants. Imagine a means to reduce greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide and increase oxygen. It is all possible with a single low-tech solution: Green roofs.

On Sept. 19 at 7 p.m., the JP Design Club will host a special green roof presentation at the Taylor House Bed & Breakfast at 50 Burroughs St.

Green roofs have been serving Germany and other parts of Europe for over 50 years. They are composed of a layered system involving a waterproof membrane; a protection layer; a layer for water drainage and retention to keep plants moist but not flooded; and a layer of planting media and plants. This integrated green roof system protects the roof of a building for at least 50 years while reducing energy costs and improving storm water management.

In Jamaica Plain, there are several green roofs being planned. The Jackson Square redevelopment project aspires to include eight green roofs. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation is looking at the possibility of installing four or more green roofs on various buildings over the next few years.

The benefits of a green roof on one building are wonderful, but when there are many buildings, the effects are cumulative and begin to reduce the overall ambient temperature.

The more green roofs established in Jamaica Plain, or any other locality, the greater the positive impact.

The Sept. 19 forum sponsored by JP Design Club, a group of six Realtors with Prudential Unlimited Realty, is free and open to the public. For more information, check the website at http://jpdesignclub.com/featured_speaker.php or contact Will Brokhof at 522-2200.

The writer is the co-founder, with two other women, of a Roslindale company to combat global warming, Earth Our Only Home, Inc.