Mandate New Public Schools Come with Green Roofing

The architect of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon must have been an early member of the green movement.

Green roofs, an innovative form of environmental architecture, are taking root throughout the United States. The concept involves installing ground cover, shrubs and other flora over the roof surface of a building to reduce run-off into sewers. Also, green roofs can lower the temperature of a black-top surface by 100 degrees, thereby reducing air-conditioning costs.

On Aug. 27, 2010, Hillside Elementary School in Berwyn, Pa., completed construction on its own green roof, as Blair Meadowcroft reported--http://bit.ly/g5cJOF. As reasons for the project, school officials noted the benefits of reduced pollution and air-conditioning costs, science education and building aesthetics. A Growing Greener grant with the Department of Environmental Protection provided funding for the project.

Here in DC, one must look no farther than the roof of 2000 Penn, which received a green roof upon renovation. The addition introduces much needed color and vitality to the glass and concrete urban landscape.

I first learned of green roofs and Hillside's construction plans in 2008, while a senior at Conestoga High School in Berwyn. The advantages of the project seemed to tower over its minimal drawbacks, which mainly amount to installation costs for older roofs.

According to Mark Fischetti of Scientific American, "Tokyo now requires that at least 20 percent of any new roof on medium and large buildings be cultivated."

I think the United States must outdo Tokyo by requiring all new public school buildings to employ green roofs. Such a step in environmental policy could return the United States to the forefront of technological innovation. It would protect the nation's future resources, and ensure an environmentally educated populace.

Won't somebody, please, think of the children??

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