Turning a Urban Heat Hotbed into a Green Cooling Haven

green roof - green cooling havenThere is no better symbol of modernization, success, and advancements than urban cities. Cities are sources of vibrant economies, progressive thinking, and the evolution of a country. Yet, while cities are a hotbed for progression, they are also a literal hotbed of heat – which is the reason why urban cities are notoriously referred to as “heat islands.” Heat island cities typically have a much higher air temperature than their surrounding rural areas, temperatures which peak during the summertime and remain quite high during the year.

According to the EPA, Aside from raising air temperature, heat islands have a few other negative effects, those of which include inducing heat related illnesses among city residents, reducing the quality of water, causing pollution, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and raising home and commercial cooling costs. Fortunately, a solution has lately arisen. To diminish the negative effects of cities, city dwellers and even those in the suburbs are turning to “green roofing.”


Green Roofing – A Flourishing Solution

The beauty of green roofing is that it can be installed anywhere. Whether you are in a city or in a residential community, a green roof is your solution to reducing your heating costs and creating a better, healthier, and more stable environment. Green roof’s work by using evapotranspiration and shading to reduce the heat that reaches the roof. To begin with, the soil and the vegetation both reduce the roof’s heat by shading the surface of the roof and also absorbing the sunlight, thus reflecting the heat back into the atmosphere. Because the roof is adequately shaded, the surface temperature of the roof is much cooler than it would be otherwise. According to the EPA, shading accounts for an up to 20 degrees Celsius reduction of the roof’s heat.

The other way that green roofs reduce the surface temperature of the roof is through evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration is a process of which flowers and other plants absorb water through their roots which is then evaporated back into the atmosphere. The entire evaporation process cools the air surrounding the building, which then leads to an entire reduction of the urban heat island effect.


green roof - green cooling havenTypes of Green Roofs

There are two types of green roofs – extensive green roofs and intensive green roofs. While both of these roofs vary, before establishing either of them, Roofline points out that there are vital steps that can be taken to ensure that the roof is fully prepared. One of those steps is to clean your roof of harmful mold, mildew, and other substances that can be harmful to the vegetation you plan to grow.

Intensive green roofs are very similar to regular parks. They are designed so that they can sustain nearly any kind of vegetation in safe manner. They utilize strong structural support, drainage, and irrigation systems. These types of roots are very low maintenance too. On the other hand, extensive green roofs are very lightweight, they do not function as rooftop gardens, and they use low maintenance plants to achieve the desire results. Either roof that you choose has a number of wonderful benefits.


Energy Efficiency

The first and most important advantage to green roofs is that they are very energy efficient. According to the British Columbia Institute of Technology, green roofs protect the roof from direct solar contact during the summer, they minimize heat loss during the winter, and they reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, cities that utilize green roofs have lower energy costs, less smog, and society reduces its costs in healthcare due to a decrease in heat related health problems.


Green Roofs are Durable

Another advantage of owning a green roof is that the green roof lengthens the longevity of the roof and reduces maintenance issues. For instance, with a green roof it is very common to have reduced waste materials during re-roofing projects and the re-roofing projects are far fewer compared to traditional roofs. Therefore, not only are you saving money, but you are also saving yourself trouble with a green roof.


Better Air Quality

Cities are known to be more than hotbeds of heat, but also hotbeds of smog and harmful pollutants. If you want to help your city become an eco-friendly with improved air quality, then a green roof can do just that. The plants that you add to your green roof are able to filter noxious gases and reduce the amount of pollutants in the air, resulting in a cleaner city and a healthier and happier community.

Green roofs are truly a beautiful, safe, eco-friendly, sustainable, and encouraged project that any city dweller should undertake. By taking the right steps to building your green roof, like pre-cleaning and removing harmful substances, you can ensure that your project is built to fulfill its purpose and create a city that is better for everyone.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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