If it's time for you to replace or upgrade the existing roof on your commercial structure, you should consider having a green roof installed. Green roofs function as rooftop gardens and involve many benefits, including:
- Providing insulation in winter
- Helping to keep building interiors cool in summer
- Providing habitat for local avian and beneficial insect life -- plant milkweed and watch the migrating monarch butterflies flock to your rooftop garden!
- Putting oxygen into the atmosphere
- Reducing stormwater runoff
- Providing green, aesthetic appeal in urban environments
It may also be possible for you to receive federal funding for your green roof as well as get federal tax credits. Individual states may also offer tax incentives and rebates. Your local commercial roofing contractor will be able to provide you with information about available options.
Green roofs have long been a staple of urban environments in Europe, and they are now beginning to develop a presence in American cities. Following are four fabulous green roofs in American cities to provide you with inspiration for your next commercial roofing project.
Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farms
Probably the most well-known rooftop garden in the country and definitely the largest, the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farms produces over 50,000 pounds of organic produce on an annual basis. The organization's two vegetable farms are located on top of two buildings in central Brooklyn, and besides growing vegetables, they raise hens for eggs and cultivate beehives for honey. They offer training programs for aspiring urban farmers as well as educational opportunities for local schools. To help offset maintenance and production costs, the space is available for weddings, dinner parties, and other events.
Chicago City Hall Green Roof
The rooftop garden on the top of Chicago's City Hall has made the centrally located structure into one of the Windy City's most noticeable landmarks. Started in 2000, it has now matured into a lush, green expanse that features over 150 plant species and over 20,000 individual plants. Many of the plants that grow here are native prairie plants, some of which are on the endangered species list. It serves primarily as a demonstration garden and provides residents and visitors with a green, serene resting space in the middle of what can be a noisy, chaotic urban environment.
The country's first community garden is located on the roof of the Mercer Parking Garage in the Seattle neighborhood known as Uptown. Called the UpGarden, it provides 30,000 square feet of gardening space for area residents. With wait lists for community garden spaces as much as five years long in some parts of Seattle, the UpGarden serves a pressing need. Your commercial building may not be large enough to support a community garden, but your employees might appreciate having a place to grow some vegetables and culinary herbs. Depending on local codes and ordinances, you might even be able to offer the space for a community garden.
Green Sky Growers in Winter Garden, Florida
Appropriately located on the top of the Garden Building in the Florida community of Winter Park, Green Sky Growers not only produces tons of organically grown vegetables, but they also have an aquaculture program that cultivates fresh fish. The garden features several tilapia fish tanks that hold between 500-600 fish each. Tilapia are a fresh water fish that can be easily raised using eco-friendly practices and have white flesh with a mild, pleasant flavor. Because of the warm year-round weather that Winter Garden enjoys, Green Sky Growers can provide fresh vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers on a year-round basis.
Most commercial buildings are much smaller than the ones listed above, but that doesn't mean that they aren't great candidates for green roofs. One of the most appealing aspects of green roofs is that they can be customized to fit almost any structure. For additional reading on the roofing options available for your business, look online for local roofing companies in your area.