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Future Energies

Grass Root design saves energy.

Articles / Environmental Architecture
Posted by gfoat on Jan 08, 2001 - 06:12 AM

Traditional flat roof space on city buildings could be carpeted with a growing green top layer. Combining carefully laid layers, and roof repellent membranes with an inbuilt drainage system, the technology supports plant life which lowers the temperature of these buildings thereby requiring less power for cooling. It has been calculated that in summer and winter, grass roof tops moderate temperatures by 10F. Rooftop greening can also filter air pollutants and retain up to 70% storm water, thereby reducing storm water contamination and also the risk of flooding.

It has been reported that grass rooftops will be put to the ultimate test by Ford Motor Company.

Bill Ford, chairman of Ford Motor Company has recently outlined his vision for a $2 billion overhaul of the companyís Rouge plant in Detroit, the first mass-manufacturing plant in the world. They want to make an icon of green engineering and manufacturing that the world can emulate. The aim is to improve the environment by installing a 454.000 sq ft grass roof. The roof will be designed to incorporate skylights to allow natural lighting in the building, making working conditions far more comfortable. The electric power to the site will be supplied by green energies. Fuel cells will be used to power the computer systems and there is talk of the possible integration of wind power in the future.

With a grass roof, sound transmission is effectively reduced which results in a more tranquil work environment being created. Reduced maintenance and longer lasting roofs are other positive benefits of this technology. The technology isnít new but in fact the principle of thermal and acoustic insulators is just a rediscovery of old engineering practices that were utilised in Victorian times. It seems that vital information has been lost over time and then rediscovered. The probable cause for the technologies near extinction was certainly due to the ever-increasing specialisation of todayís industry. Other keen demonstrations of this technology are said to be taking place in Chicago and Toronto.


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