The steep slopes of the roof at the California Academy of Sciences act as a natural ventilation and cooling system.
Photo: Courtesy of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (www.greenroofs.org) and Rana Creek Living Architecture.
Intensive roof gardens can add to the local economy by producing food that provides greater nutritional value to the community because it's accessible immediately from the garden, without travel time. In addition, the visual benefit of adding greenery, particularly to the urban landscape, has been shown to reduce stress and to have therapeutic health benefits, which accelerates recovery from illness. Rooftop gardens also increase habitat opportunities for birds, bees, and other insects.
Green roofs are a great example of how creating more sustainable ways of doing things can benefit the planet, its people, and even their pocketbooks.
Trish Riley is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Greening Your Business and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Living, publisher of www.gogreennation.org, and director of Cinema Verde (www.verdefest.org), an environmental film festival.