Green Roofs are Gaining Acceptance in U.S. Cities, Says Survey
The GRHC recently completed its first survey of its members to gauge the growth of green roofs, finding that in 2005, green roofs covered at least 2.5 million square feet of roof space in North America, up from 1.3 million square feet in 2004. Cities that incorporate the largest area of green roofs in 2005 include Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; and Suitland, Maryland. Toronto may catch up to these other cities quickly, since the city council recently passed a policy that requires green roofs to be incorporated into city buildings and provides financial incentives for green roofs.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also doing its part through its Urban Heat Island Initiative, which has instituted pilot projects and strategies for combating the urban heat island effect. According to the EPA, urban heat islands increase peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution levels, and heat-related illness and mortality. As part of the initiative, the EPA has launched a new online database that tracks state and local initiatives to reduce heat islands. See the database and the EPA Heat Island web site.