A more awesome type of habitable green roof

The type that is habitable for wildlife, soon to come (I hope) in Portland, Oregon.

Dusty Gedge, president of the European Federation of Green-roof Associations, took a tour of some of Portland’s green roof-tops.  Gedge says Portland is internationally known for its traditional eco-roofs which help reduce annual storm runoff by about 70 percent.  But he says, with a few modifications, the green roofs also provide a home to wildlife like insects and birds.

“Roofs are a really good place to put these dry riverbed habitats.  In summer it’s really dry. In winter its quite wet and there’s an ecology and nature that likes that, and roofs are the perfect place to do that,” said Gedge.

Found via Green ArchiTEXT.

Black redstart

A black redstart on its preferred type of ground. Photo by Flickr user Arthur Chapman, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Another really neat take on the idea of the green roof as wildlife habitat are projects like the Laban Dance Centre in the UK – actually called a brown roof, because it creates the habitat lost when brownfields are developed – where a roof covered with rubble provides habitat for a bird called the black redstart.

Here are some lovely photos and diagrams showing how a brown roof should be constructed.

I am very enthusiastic about green roofs that are human habitable, instead of being just a layer of sedums or something put up there to deal with storm water (and heat and etc.), but designing them to replace habitat lost by construction is better than that. Architecture meant to improve things, not just have a neutral impact on the world, is a Good Thing; even if, at this point, replacing habitat falls more under “trying to approach neutrality, and a long way from net positive,” it’s moving in the right direction.

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