Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pretty and practical, green roofs sprouting all over Philly

Workers are busy installing greenery on the roof of the Philadelphian condo complex
   The city now has 111 green roofs, with 64 on the way. David Swanson/ Photographer
 
On Earth Day, Sandy Bauer reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"Across the city, the tops of buildings and parking lots are sprouting greenery like never before. The number of green roofs in Philadelphia has tripled since 2010, according to the Water Department, which tracks the roofs because they absorb storm-water runoff.

"The city now has 111 green roofs, roughly 25 acres' worth. An additional 64 roofs are in the queue. The completed ones range from a tiny poof of greenery atop a bus stop shelter - installed at 15th and Market Streets as an attention-getter in 2011 - to one of the latest and biggest, one-acre-plus of greenery at Cira Centre South in University City.

"Roof gardens are atop hospitals, office buildings, the Philadelphia Free Library, schools, and private homes. Since 2009, virtually every new building and major renovation at the University of Pennsylvania has been designed with a green roof - "an integral part of Penn's sustainability goals," said spokeswoman Heidi Wunder.

Some are even the equivalent of mini parks in the sky. One under construction atop a parking garage near the Cira Centre will be more than an acre, with trees and prime views of the city. The 2.7-acre project nearing completion at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is perhaps even more inviting because it's so visible - just above street level. But it's a roof all the same. The rest of the building, a parking lot, is simply underground.

"We're doing it for all the appropriate technical reasons, but it's also designed as a park for people to use," said Douglas Carney, vice president of facilities at Children's Hospital. Thus, the trees, benches, and fountains.
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