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Sustainability

Green roofs may bring long-term energy savings

July 27, 2010
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Walking past the blank concrete walls of Williamson Hall, it''s hard to imagine the roof was once a maze of diverse plant life: After more than two years living atop a most unusual home, the array of grasses, bulbs and perennials have been removed as a long research project on green roofs is coming to a close, according to The Minnesota Daily.
The roof is empty and drab — at least for now: The question remains whether the University of Minnesota will eventually take the results of that research and turn the campus into a network of living roofs, the article stated.
By selecting plants that serve specific purposes, green roofs can reduce energy costs: Plants that reflect light or absorb heat well help to cool the building during warmer months and in the winter, plants can insulate better than a traditional roof, the article noted.
According to the article, the goal was to create a low-maintenance green roof that could be used more as a technology than a recreational space.
The savings are hard to quantify especially considering that a green roof can cost two to three times as much as a normal roof but a properly installed green roof will last two or three times as long, so there is a trade off, the article added.
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