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Green Roofs Combat Pollution

Green Roofs May Reduce Carbon

Planting the rooftops in Detroit would have the same environmental benefit as removing 10,000 SUVs from the road, a new study shows.

Michigan State University researchers found that planting vegetation on roofs can store heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The theory that green roofs combat pollution is not a new one.  Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas emitted by burning fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal for transportation, power production and industrial development. High concentrations are linked to global warming.

“Green roofs already are used to control temperatures, improve storm runoff and increase vegetation and wildlife habitat in urban areas” says Getter, a doctoral student in horticulture, who has quantified another environmental benefit.

Researchers found that the plants on green roofs absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.

Their findings were applied to the Detroit metropolitan area, which has between 77 million and 101 million square yards of available rooftop. Planting vegetation on all of it could also mean storing approximately 55,000 tons of carbon, Getter said. That would be the same environmental impact as removing thousands of trucks or SUVs from the road.

source: Roofing Magazine Nov. 2009

~ concord carpenter

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