"Many communities today are
inventing and formulating the new civics of sustainability," (Quote from
Grant Jones, FASLA, in Dramstad, et al, 1996). Environmental literacy
advocates link the health and condition of the environment with the health
and conditions of human societies (Golley, 1998).
Designers and owners of
real estate are conscious of the environment and the impact of building design and function.
In recent years, there has been a steady trend toward more aesthetically and
environmentally friendly sustainable design.
Improving the quality of life is a goal we can all agree on, and is
certainly achievable when we start to develop the land responsibly.
Agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental
Protection Agency, NASA, the G.S.A., ISO, ASHRAE, ASTM, The White House and the
U.S. Green Building Council are all moving towards implementing green policies
and green buildings (www.hydrotechusa.com/garden.html).
"I think green roofs are a viable alternative to other roofing
types. It's great that the architecture community is showing an interest in
these types of roofs," (e-mail personal communication, Dr. Jeffrey C. Luvall, NASA,
The greenroof concept needs to be re-interpreted and
particularly understood from a stormwater
runoff control standpoint and mitigation measure against our urban heat islands. Historically in the U.S., garden roofs have been
built as architectural accents, not as ecological and energy sensitive
performance engineered roofs with measurable practical benefits. Governments at all levels would greatly benefit from simple,
robust extensive greenroof designs. The more elaborate intensive systems
will especially contribute towards the well-being of our urban
Most likely, many leading edge, high
profile projects will be necessary to propel
greenroof philosophy into the national consciousness. Overall, greenroofs offer
unlimited application and design possibilities, and provide so many ecological,
economic and aesthetic benefits that we would be irresponsible not to consider
Urban ecology and environmental quality issues need to become
an integral part of development and construction practices. "The impacts of
a particular land-use plan or landscape design should be considered within the
larger ecological context of the landscape or region," (Dramstad, et al,
businesses, and municipalities need to promote green development by example; it is simply
about doing the right thing. Greenroofs offer one solution to the alienation of nature in our designed world,
and are at their most effective as integral part of a more comprehensive scheme. If
utilized on a wide scale basis, greenroofs could help raise local and regional environmental
awareness and health, while providing substantial global benefits to the overall
landscape mosaic that is our Earth.
Norwegian Fishing Village;
Photo Courtesy of