EPA research indicates green roofing options cool urban heat islands and reduce impact of global climate change

Nadine Watters
EPA research indicates green roofing options cool urban heat islands and reduce impact of global climate change
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A recent study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that cool, green and hybrid roofs can offset warming in urban environments.  (1)

EPA finds new roofing options reduce impact of global climate change

The EPA published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences regarding roofing options (cool, green and hybrid) which may help reduce the impact of global climate change.  Cool roofing options are coated in a reflective material to eliminate heat buildup. Green roofing consists of vegetation and hybrid roofing options (currently in developmental stages) which have light-colored reflective plants.  (1)

Roofing is just one of the major factors to cool urban heat islands

Other major factor affecting urban heat islands are urban sprawl and carbon pollution.  Preliminary market research indicates there is a strong interest in finding real solutions to cool urban heat islands, especially after catching the attention of over forty news outlets such as Popular Mechanics, Scientific American, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, the LA Times and a few international newspapers. (1)

Green roofs reduce heat loss, energy consumption, cooling loads and stormwater run off

Green roofs reduce heating because they add mass and thermal resistance value.  A 2005 study by the University of Toronto indicated that green roofs reduce heat loss and energy consumption in winter conditions.  Green roofs also reduce the cooling loads on a building by 50% – 90%.  And lastly, a study presented at the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Conference, cited by the EPA, found that “water runoff was reduced by over 75% during rainstorms.” (2)

Habitats are positively supported by green roofs in urban settings

Plants, insects and animals have very little natural dwelling spaces within cities.  Research has shown that green roofs can “attract beneficial insects, birds, bees and butterflies and provide stepping stones for songbirds, migratory birds and other wildlife facing shortages of natural habitat.”  (2)

Sources for this article include:

(1)  epa.gov
(2)  en.wikipedia.org

Image source: https://flic.kr/p/8sQahT

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