The following is condensed from a blog by Amy Norquist.Too much weight is currently put on the need for more "infrastructure," meaning more pipes, more engineering, more disruption, more trying to control the flow, especially when it combines with rain. (It is as futile a solution as holding back the waters of Lake Ponchartrain during a major hurricane.) These "end of pipe solutions" represent the traditional approach to solving a problem caused by too many people paving over too many acres.
Diagram from Greensulate
Green roofs last 20 to 75 years longer than conventional ones. And, for good measure, they improve air quality and provide habitat to endangered butterflies and bees, and arguably improve humans' experience of the world by providing more visually accessible green space.
Green roofs are not only the economically superior strategy but their additional benefits are huge: reducing Co2 and particulate matter, and flooding cities with beauty instead of contaminated storm water.
Looking even further -- and more globally -- down the road, scientists at Columbia University (NASA's Goddard Institute) have concluded that the combination of planting more street trees along with Green roofs looks like the best single mitigation strategy for the effects of climate change in urban areas.
Green roofs in Madison
- City Engineering's Emil Street office has a small green roof
- The new Microbial Sciences Building on Linden Dr.
* * *More about Amy Norquist.
Read Amy Norquist's blog on the Huffington post.