Roof Gardens Slow to Grow in Arkansas

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jun. 1, 2009 12:00 am  

Mark Boyer, interim department head at the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, shows garden atop a UA building.

Benefits

A rooftop garden lowers the temperature of the roof, resulting in the need for less air conditioning in the building, said Mark Boyer, interim department head at the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas.

The rooftop garden also acts as insulation, keeping the building warmer in the winter, Boyer said.  

A garden roof adds years to the life of the roof, he said.

In addition, on a flat roof, the water drips off and then flows into the sewer system. With a rooftop garden, however, the rainwater lingers longer and benefits the garden, said Larry Merritt, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Environment, which has experience with such gardens. Robertson said green roofs had the potential to capture and hold up to an inch of rainwater.

Boyer said he had been trying to collect donations to build display rooftop gardens. Then property owners "can understand what it is that we're talking about" and add them to their own buildings, Boyer said.

Robertson said one of the misconceptions was that rooftop gardens cost too much. But, he said, energy savings offset those upfront costs over the life of the roof.

"I think the perception of the expense is holding it back," he said.

Robertson also said another obstacle to the adoption of rooftop gardens is that property owners typically want to keep leaks and moisture off their roofs.

"The perception is that we're going to end up with roof problems with leaks and mold and everything else," he said. "And that's just not the case."

 Related:  Garden Roofs Blossom in Chicago

 

 

 

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