Thursday, November 5, 2009

Above the Lawn

Harvard Business School Showcases Its New Green Roof

It's alive!  The roof, that is.  Over the summer the Harvard Business School installed a new Green roof on top of Shad Hall (also known as the building across from the football stadium).  The roof is part of a University-wide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2016 from 2006 levels.  

Apex Green Roofs was hired to roll out the Roofscape, and the Business School is now the proud new owner of the University's first Green roof.  The groundcover is already two inches high, and with miles of fall-colored treetops and church steeples in the background makes for an impressive vista.  The Business School currently has no plans to open the roof up for visitors, but tours are available upon request.     

Green roofs are sprouting up across the country, bringing with them attractive scenery, environmental benefits, and no end of gardening puns.  With a pricetag of around $15 per sq ft (although costs are much less in countries where Green roofing companies have gotten off the ground), why the recent surge in Green roofs?

(1) Green roofs are excellent insulators.  This reduces CO2 emissions of buildings, as well as heating and cooling costs.   
(2) Green roofs soak up rainwater and filter pollutants.  The HBS Green roof is expected to decrease stormwater runoff by as much as 80%.
(3) Green roofs extend the lifetime of a roof by protecting it from harsh weather and extreme temperatures.  

Since Green roofs have been popular in Germany for over 50 years, maybe a better question is why have they taken so long to catch on in the US?  

Should the law school invest in its own Green roof?  Are the benefits worth the costs?  If so, should a Green roof on campus be open to students?   

1 comment:

  1. Is this something that could be considered for the NW Corner project?