Green roofs (GR) can improve living conditions for human and non-human inhabitants, yet they are few and far between in southern California and the San Diego region. Good Earth Plants in San Diego provides a good 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 are impelled to do something about this.
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 multi-story high-rises in the city which grant tenants more pleasant views, improved air quality, reduced noise pollution, reduced urban heat island effect, etc. However, the large-scale environmental benefits from GR installation on flat-roofed buildings are being overlooked, including commercial and residential. As stated by our friends in Vancouver, GRs contribute to community well-being at all levels, with particular value as secure green spaces during the COVID-19 crisis.
Innovative Biosolar combines a green roof with roof-mounted solar. As your solar panels are heated from the sun, they inevitably lose 10% – 25% efficiency depending on the panel’s installed location. By including plants around the solar panels, evapotranspiration causes a cool microclimate to form. In return, the vegetation is irrigated when condensation forms and drips off the panels. Installing heat-regulating flora on roofs is a great way to help meet and exceed your building’s electricity demand and save you money. You may also consider installing low power fans to provide forced convection and using white, non-reflective cells.