We LOVE rooftop gardens here at Loftgardens Landscape Architecture. Why, you may ask?
Rooftop gardens and green roofs offer important tools for building a more sustainable city. A 2004 study of the potential benefits of widespread implementation of green roofs in Toronto, Ontario, CA outlined a wide range of benefits to the city and to individual projects, such as: <Link to study website: City of Toronto, Green Roof Benefits>
- Reduction in peak stormwater runoff resulting in improved water quality, and savings in drainage infrastructure, pollution control measures and erosion/sediment control measures
- Widespread energy cost savings due to reduced peak load demand on the electricity grid from cooling equipment
- Potential reduction in local ambient temperatures between 0.5 and 2 degrees celsius (reducing the urban heat island effect)
- Improved air quality, with reductions in CO, NO2, O3, PM10, and SO2
- Extended lifespan of roof infrastructure, with roof membranes lasting up to twice as long
- Potential for local food production
- Habitat for birds and invertebrates
- Improved beauty and scenic value of the roofscape
- Opportunities for recreation space in the most densely built-out portions of the urban core
Given so many reasons why rooftop gardens are great (and this is a summary list), one has to ask: why do we not have more rooftop gardens here in Sacramento?
We believe there are currently two primary impediments to the creation of more rooftop gardens in our region. First, there appears to be a general lack of awareness of or information about rooftop gardens and green roofs in our region. Second, this lack of information or awareness is resulting in a lack of market demand for these amenities.
So what can be done? As stated previously, here at Loftgardens Landscape Architecture we LOVE rooftop gardens. And we are happy to report- we are not alone. Earlier this year a group of business owners and designers that are passionate about the benefits of rooftop gardens came together to form the Rooftop Alliance. We are proud to be a part of founding this group, along with Cobblestone Placemaking, Living Roofscapes and CivicMeet, a project of Public Innovation. For now, search for sacrooftops on Facebook and like the Rooftop Alliance page.
Here’s what were are doing to achieve the goal of having more rooftop gardens here in our region:
- We are working on creating a one-stop resource of information on how to create successful rooftop gardens, green roofs, living walls, etc. for our climate and region.
- We are meeting with business owners, property owners, and local building officials to help them get past the initial stumbling blocks when considering whether a rooftop garden is a good fit for an individual building or project. In the process we are also working on identifying and reducing the regulatory and code hurdles impeding the creation of rooftop gardens.
- We are instigating a wide-ranging dialogue in support of more rooftop gardens by creating a series of temporary rooftop parks and inviting our community to come experience and enjoy them with us. See the next post about Sacramento’s Inaugural Rooftop Pop-up Park this past weekend!
Rooftop gardens are an important tool for building a more sustainable city. More importantly, they have a positive impact on our individual and collective quality of life. Whether that means the opportunity to grow your own food on top of your apartment building in the urban core, or enjoying an iconic civic open space on top of a new downtown arena, rooftop gardens can have a transformative impact on the character of our city and our region.
Now we’re engaging you: Help us make Sacramento green & beautiful… at every level.
Ed Chandler, Managing Partner of Loftgardens shown above delivering an action pitch to the TEDx Sacramento City2.0 event this past Friday evening on behalf of the Rooftop Alliance. The pitch was a short (2:45) version of much of the content of this post. In an exciting win, the TEDx Sacramento community selected the Rooftop Alliance pitch to support over the coming year! We are truly excited to be working with our local TEDx community. Great things to come….