The city of my choice is California. This city records an average of 359 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 26.29 metric tons per capita carbon dioxide emissions annually. These recordings show how much this city has a polluted environment. The climate of California is apparently a unique one as compared to many cities. It is because on the border of the town is the seashore. Daily temperatures in the town mainly the coastal region lingers around 70F/21C and can sometimes reach 80F 27C or even more on hot days of the summer. California rarely experiences freezing temperatures.
An increase of gardens on rooftops would have a positive impact on the environment. Apart from environmental benefits rooftop gardens also benefit the private, public, social and economic sectors. An increasing pattern in the temperature virtually characterizes all urban centers. Radiations from the sun warm up asphalt, concrete, and much other human-made material. Furthermore, it warms up greenery, plants, and trees faster and makes them hotter. It leads to a significant hot air zone that surrounds environments in urban areas all year round.
A roof garden can help to ease these temperatures. An exposed roof can get heated up to 158 degrees F on a very sunny day but with a shady and green rooftop garden, temperatures can cooldown to relatively 77 degrees. From this cooling effect, large energy amounts don't go to waste (Santamouris, M., 2014). With a bare roof air conditioning is a fundamental need because of the high temperatures. But with green shade and plants on the rooftops, we have reduced heat flow reducing the energy demanded daily. It leads to high savings in energy costs.
Plants offer shade to the surface of the roof and aid in transpiration of water. The growing medium for the rooftop plants is essential when it comes to the growth of plants. Cities are characteristically dominated by non-porous and hard surfaces which mainly contribute to heavy runoff, which at times cannot be handled by the existing storm water and sewage management services and equipment. It can lead to erosion and flooding and pollution as urban runoff is very high in pollutants. The plants growing medium aids in retaining storm water thus controlling the adverse effects it would have caused. Green roofs store rainfall water, and through evapotranspiration, the precipitation evaporates to the atmosphere.
California is among the worst polluted cities in the United States. Currently, California is among the cities that could face catastrophic climate change consequences unless the right measures to curb the catastrophe get implemented. In the previous 25 years trends in the fog frequencies of central California, the valley has had dramatic changes (Gray, E., Baldocchi, D. D., & Goldstein, A. H., 2015, December). This irregularity in fog levels can be said to have been caused by the increasing temperatures brought about by climate change. Automobiles are one of the most abundant air pollutants in the last 25 years.
Roof gardens are mostly efficiently installed in new buildings. It is possible because designing decisions for structural and special provisions for the garden can be made earlier. The rooftops should have proper access to adequate sunlight. Any building with good access to a roof can host a rooftop garden. Depending on the plant to be grown the depth of the soil will differ according to the plant's requirements. It is vital in protecting the roof from damage.
No building material is needed to place rooftop gardens. It is because the plants to be grown on the rooftop will build on their soil medium. Having these microsystems on the roof will positively affect the environment. They will reduce gaseous greenhouse emissions and air pollution (Wong, N. H., Chen, Y., Ong, C. L., & Sia, A., 2003). City buildings lower air-conditioning demand and lead to the reduction of greenhouse gases emitted and also reduce air pollution. These micro-ecosystems also help in filtering pollutants from rainfall.
Green roofs commonly attract insects like ants, beetles, flies, bugs leafhoppers and spiders. Green roofs can also be habitats for birds, where the birds can make their nests. Intensive roof gardens which can support woody vegetation are the best. Woody vegetation offers very significant contributions to the environment in urban areas because the trees act as carbon sinks. Woody vegetation traps airborne particles and also takes up nitrogen which is a contaminating factor.
Rooftop gardens have very positive impacts on the environment. An increase in the number of rooftop gardens in California can help in regulation of carbon emissions and reduction of pollution. Garden rooftops are very costly to make, but they have functional impacts on the environment. They also help in saving a lot of costs and eliminate shortcomings from pollution. Roof gardens can be said to be the future to healthier and sustainable cities.
Wong, N. H., Chen, Y., Ong, C. L., & Sia, A. (2003). Investigation of thermal benefits of rooftop garden in the tropical environment. Building and environment, 38(2), 261-270.
Santamouris, M. (2014). Cooling the cities-a review of reflective and green roof mitigation technologies to fight heat island and improve comfort in urban environments. Solar energy, 103, 682-703.
Gray, E., Baldocchi, D. D., & Goldstein, A. H. (2015, December). Impact of Air Pollution on California Central Valley Fog Frequency. In AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts.
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