The view from above has changed in downtown Rochester. City Hall has a new roof and it's green. Over the past few weeks, crews have been working hard to transform this space with the plant, sedum. "It's a succulent plant that is drought resistent. It requires very little maintenence and is basically rolled out in mats like sod. There about 4 inches of soil under the mats that plants grow into," says Anne Spaulding the Sr. Environmental Specialist for the City of Rochester.
The project was paid for with a grant from the DEC The idea is to improve water quality, by filtering some of the runoff. "Stormwater that normally would fall on the roof and go down into the storm drain picking up any pollutants is basically retained by the plants and used by the plants," says Spaulding.
But there are other added benefits too. Green roofs help save energy because they keep the building cooler in the summer. The city will know just how well this is working. They will be monitoring the temperature on the green roof and on other more traditional roofs in the city.
"Green roofs are becoming more popular in cities and when you look at the aerial view of a city, there are lots of impervious surfaces and lots of those surfaces are roofs. So it's a real good opportunity for stormwater managment and to reduce energy costs for buildings in large cities," Spaulding adds.
As part of this same grant, the city already plans to put a green roof on another smaller, building. If these initial projects are a big success- they may look to add more in the future.