Gone are the days that flat roofs need to be black tar – now they can be white, green, blue and solar-panel black.

On the green roof of the Mountain Equipment Co...

On the green roof of the Mountain Equipment Co-op store in Toronto, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These different kinds of green roofs help solve serious environmental concerns, including air pollution, urban heat spots, storm water runoff and more.

Turning roofs into gardens or painting them white helps them to have much lower surface temperatures. A city’s average temperature is often much higher than in the surrounding suburbs (where more green spaces and trees provide more shade).

Green roofs can retain 75 percent of a one-inch rainfall and use the moisture to cool down.

The idea of green roofs is not new, but it has become a more popular choice in the past 50 years or so, especially in Europe, where Germany’s green roofs top the list (10 percent of roofs in Germany are considered green).

Costs of green roofs

Greening a roof requires some work and money and a lot of different materials: Insulation, waterproof membranes, barriers to control roots, drainage layers (gravel or clay), mats for erosion prevention, lightweight soil and plants.

Depending on the types of plants and maintenance work involves, a green roof can cost $15 to $30 per square foot.

But factoring in air conditioning and heating costs all year round, the expense may well be worth it.

Researchers from Columbia University and City University of New York found that a green roof can cut the rate of heat gained through the roof in summer by 84 percent, and the rate of heat lost through the roof in winter by 34 percent.

English: Chicago City Hall Green Roof

English: Chicago City Hall Green Roof (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reducing the storm runoff water can help curb sewer overflows and improve public health.

Green roofs can also help reduce air pollution in the city. One square meter can absorb all the emissions from a car being driven 12,000 miles a year, experts say.

Source: New York Times

Air cleaners for healthier buildings

Greener roofs may help with reducing air pollution, but until they become mainstream, many workers and city dwellers will be exposed to the harmful fumes, gases and particulate matter polluting the city.

Electrocorp has designed air cleaners for facility management, offices and other applications.

The portable or HVAC-compatible air cleaners feature a complete air filtration system with activated carbon and HEPA plus optional UV germicidal filtration to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants.

The air filters can capture airborne chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses, allergens, mold and more.

For more information, contact Electrocorp today.

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