Green roofs can improve living conditions for human and non-human residents, but there are few in the Southern California region. Good Earth Plants in San Diego provides an overview. Given the aridity of the climate here, and that the biggest financial driver for GRs is water management (e.g., retention, storage, runoff), we were surprised to learn that San Diego has a limited history of green roofs, and few guidelines and codes.
We admire San Francisco’s policy and strive to tap into something similar for our region. Whether local or state-wide, we plan to help establish local ordinances or programs that support the wide-spread implementation of GR technology.
Granted, there are a few examples of GRs for high-rise buildings in the city that offer tenants more pleasant views, improved air quality, reduced noise, reduced electricity demand, reduced urban heat island effect, etc.. Perhaps the major environmental benefits of GRs on flat-roofed commercial and residential buildings are overlooked. As explained by our friends in Vancouver, GRs contribute to community well-being at all levels.
Innovative Biosolar combines a green roof with a solar system on the roof. When your solar panels are heated by the sun, they inevitably lose 10% – 25% efficiency, depending on where the solar panels are installed. By including plants around the solar panels, evapotranspiration causes a cool microclimate to form. In turn, the vegetation is irrigated when condensation forms and drips off the panels. You may also consider installing low-power fans to provide forced convection and use white, non-reflective cells.