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[Introduction]  [History]  [Extensive Greenroofs]  [Intensive Greenroofs
[Underground Parking Garages]  [Why]  [Conclusion]

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Intensive Greenroof by Optima - Italy

"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 (

"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, July, 1999).

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 areas.  

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 their potential.

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, 1996).  Individuals, 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 Anne Kletten


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