I had the pleasure of attending a Green Roof Design and Installation workshop last week in Nashville, Tennessee. This course is for those interested in the green roof industry and Green Roof Professional accreditation. It was a real treat to have Steven Peck, Founder and President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, as our instructor. We were also lucky enough to tour a 4-acre green roof at the Nashville Music City Center!
Although I’m no architect, landscape architect, or engineer, I have a special interest in the living architecture industry. In fact, I hope to get involved with green roof and living wall projects in the Midwest, and I can’t wait for cities like St. Louis and Kansas City to adopt living architecture incentive programs. So many cities in North America already have green roof policies! Nashville, Tennessee, offers a $10 per square foot incentive for green roofs, which is EXCELLENT considering green roofs can cost $11-50 per square foot!
Both KC and STL have environmental problems associated with urbanization, including major stormwater control problems, and Kansas City has one of the worst Urban Heat Islands in the country! (About Urban Heat Islands.) The impacts of climate change may amplify environmental problems already present in these cities.
A green roof policy would incentivize the implementation of green roofs, living walls, and other sustainable green infrastructure. Why? A few reasons:
- Mitigate urban stormwater problems
- Alleviate urban heat island effect
- Reduce energy costs
- Mitigate air, water, and soil pollution
- Increase urban biodiversity (plants, insects, birds, etc.)
- Beautify the urban jungle
- Augment urban food production
- Create green amenities for private consumers
- Create park space for the general public
The St. Louis region already has green roofs at places like NGRREC in Alton, the St. Louis Zoo, Shaw Nature Reserve, SIUE, Webster University, Washington University in St Louis, Shaw Nature Reserve, just to name a few.
Now, I believe that many companies, organizations, non-profits, and regional government entities already support the concept of green roofs. Here is a short list of folks I believe would/could/should support and benefit from a St. Louis Metro Green Roof Policy:
- BiodiverseCity St. Louis
- Brightside St Louis
- City of St Louis (via Sustainability Plan)
- Deer Creek Watershed Alliance (Rainscaping)
- East-West Gateway Council of Governments
- NorthSide Regeneration
- St Louis Regional Chamber
- St Louis Regional Higher Ed Sustainability Consortium
- St. LouisLouis ASLA (Landscape Architecture, Sustainable Sites)
- St. Louis Green Business Challenge
- St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District (CSO and Stormwater Reduction)
- Urban Harvest STL (Rooftop Gardens)
- USGBC Missouri Gateway (Green Building, LEED)
I’m sure there are more!! Let’s go, St. Louis. It’s time to make St. Louis a more sustainable, healthy, and verdant city!
About me: I am a LEED Green Associate, and have an M.S. of Environmental Sciences from SIU Edwardsville. I’ve conducted research on green roofs and living retaining walls during my graduate work at SIUE. I have also created artistic plant designs and assisted with installations for living wall projects (Pics in My LinkedIn). I’m currently looking for career opportunities in the region.