It was Hugh who started it, and once we had seen the amazing pictures of the Hundertwasserhaus the rest of us were hooked. Charles showed us his Pinetown office, Geoff had connections at the eThekwini (Durban) Municipality, Dave shared the development of his house, and the ideas kept growing.
As COP 17 came closer, took over Durban, and left us in its wake, we felt that roof gardens could be a permanent legacy of the event – even the living beehive at the Durban Botanic Gardens has a roof of vygies!
Rooftop gardening can help improve the quality of the atmosphere. The plants absorb carbon dioxide in the air and convert it into oxygen, which is released into the air. Since the rooftop plants can absorb some of the excess amounts of carbon dioxide higher up in the air, they can potentially reduce the effects of air pollution.
Another environmental advantage of rooftop gardening can be increased energy conservation. The rooftop plants provide natural insulation to rooftops by reflecting light and heat. The extra insulation can reduce the need for heating or cooling mechanisms, which cuts down on energy use and costs. The insulation from rooftop gardens can also block outdoor noises.
Many large cities experience increased daytime temperatures caused by numerous rooftops. Since urban areas tend to have more buildings, the rooftops absorb heat and light and then radiate it back into the area. This event is referred to as the “heat island effect” and can actually raise the natural temperature averages in those areas. The plants in rooftop gardens can aid in reducing “the heat island effect” by partially absorbing some of the sunlight and providing shade for buildings.
Rooftop gardens may be beneficial in areas which accumulate a great deal of rain. Storm run-off water can especially overflow sewer systems. The plants can absorb some of the rainwater and limit the run-off from excess water. Rooftop gardening, in turn, has the potential to reduce the occurrences of flooding.
Follow the link to see more pictures, and feel free to send in pictures of your own green roofs!