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Kimberly Powell

TEDCRED 50+

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If green roofs were mandatory in cities would there be less development and building?

William McDonough knows the benefits that come from designing and implementing green roofs. McDonough has helped design living roofs for big companies such as Nike and Ford Motors. But many companies and homeowners overlook the benefits of green roofs. One benefit of green roofs is that they keep the internal temperature of a building steady throughout the year. The National Research Council of Canada found that having a green roof reduced the daily energy demand for air conditioning in the summer by 75%. Toronto is the first North American city to pass a law mandating green rooftops for all new residential, commercial and industrial developments. Any new construction with floor space of more than 2,000 square meters must devote between 20 and 60 percent of its roof to vegetation. But with green roofs comes an unwanted financial upfront cost. Will developers decide that the benefits outweigh the costs for installing green roofs?

If green roofs were mandatory in cities would there be less development and building?

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    May 24 2012: I love the idea of green roofs - I especially like the idea of growing food (veg, salad leaves, soft fruit and herbs). How more local could you get! You could also place a bee hive up there - out of harms way.

    In the UK (before the economic slump) many local authorities were selling allotments to developers (there is a massive housing shortage in the UK). Even today allotments are at risk as LA's sell as many assets as they can to preserve local services. This is at a time when pensioners and the unemployed would benefit from having access to land - not only to provide food for themselves and their families, but also to stay fit, active, empowered and connected with people in their communities. Perhaps we could have community allotments at roof level on all governemnt and commercial buildings. Instead of the WW2 "Dig for Victory" campaign we could have a "Dig out Austerity" campaign.
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      May 24 2012: I really like the idea of turning these green roof projects/mandates into community gardens. I think it is critical for people to start to see "restrictions" (like a green roof requirement) as opportunities for community development. Just as it is difficult to get a group of students or friends engaged in a project unless they feel invested, it will be difficult for people to get behind this idea unless they see how they/their community can benefit. If there are financial issues with the costs of green roofing (which likely wouldn't be major given the money saved from air processing etc), people could pay small fee for some gardens in order to grow crops. Of course this should be limited so that all parts of the city could participate. Change to improve the status of the earth should include social evolution that brings people together to understand why laws are put into place to understand fully how their lives can benefit from them.

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