New York City's largest green roof sits atop the U.S. Postal Service's Morgan Processing and Distribution facility in midtown Manhattan. On this roof resides 2.5 acres of dense vegetation that two years after its installation have made a major impact on the building and the city.
The green roof, which is one of the largest in the country, was completed in December 2008 and since then has really become living proof of the power of green roofs. The roof has has reduced the building's storm water runoff by 75 percent in the summer and 40 percent in the winter. The U.S. Postal Service says the roof's ability to cool the building in the summer and insulate it in the winter saves about $30,000 a year in energy costs.
While green roofs are more expensive than traditional roofs initially, they last 50 years -- more than twice as long as a traditional roof and they quickly lead to savings in storm water management, heating and cooling, cleaning the air and costs related to the urban heat island effect.
Toronto, the first city to mandate green roofs on new construction just this past year, has conducted studies that concluded that if 75 percent of the city's roofs were greened, the city would save $37 million a year. Urban heat island effects could be reduced by as much as 2 degrees Celsius. You can read more about the Toronto bylaw here.
via Yale e360
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