Monday, September 12, 2011

Green with Envy and Environmental-Friendliness

I'm back from my blogging hiatus, rejuvenated, rested, and swirling with creativity! It's been a very productive past few weeks as I've been organizing my interviews and notebooks from this past summer's trip to Aran, thinking about how to arrange everything. I'm happy to say it feels like it's coming together.

Lately I've been yearning more and more for a garden, and hoping that the next place I move to will either have some sort of backyard space or roof space, or even just a little balcony where I could grow some tomatoes and cilantro.

Hanging out the other day on the roof of my friend's apartment, I could see her neighbor's hardcore roof garden, which only made me more envious.

Secret roof garden. WANT.
Then today I saw that my aunt Carol Weber, an interior designer, posted a link to an article in the Examiner, a publication she writes for.

The article covers how many companies in the U.S. are trying think of creative ways to make roofs of buildings more environmentally friendly, including creating green spaces on roofs.

At first glance, this photo from looks like a house overgrown with vegetation. On closer inspection it is a house with a carefully constructed design, and the green plants on the roof serve a specific purpose.

According to Carol's article, there are two types of green roofs, intensive and extensive. Taken from her article in the Examiner:

Intensive green roofs use about 12 inches of soil and can act as a park with many types of plants and shrubs. Many intensive roofs have walkways and benches as well. They include added layers to the basic vegetation to allow for an intense irrigation, drainage and root protection system. This type of roof top works well on flat roofs, such as a typical city skyscraper.

Extensive green roofs are much lighter with only about 3 inches of soil and a simple layer of planting requiring low maintenance. These roofs are used mainly for their environmental benefits and can be used as a material even on a sloped rooftop

This all of course made me think of the Aran Islands (as many things do).

I remembering reading about a cottage on Inis Meain that uses this kind of green roof technology to create a sustainable home with a low carbon impact.

Sustainable cottage on Inishmaan, photo from Aran Isles Blog Post
The roof is made of thatched rye, and has a living green roof of sea pinks, which are the beautiful pink flowers that grow naturally on Aran.

Imagine a roof covered in little pink flowers. Pretty, functional, AND good for the environment. What more could you want?

I wonder if they'd turn the roof of my building into a Green Roof?