A Truly Green Roof: Storage Facility In DC Unites The Power Of Solar Panels And Plants
We’re living in an environmentally-conscious era. As we learn more about the devastating (and potentially irreversible) consequences of our wasteful habits, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. One storage facility on Taylor Street in Washington, DC, decided to combine two of the greenest technologies available: solar panels and green roofs.
The Strength Of Sustainability
Renewable energy is a staple of many forward-thinking businesses and homes. From windmills to solar panels, we are able to harness the remarkable power of nature without doing any harm to it; in just 14 and a half seconds, the sun provides as much energy to Earth as humanity uses in a day. By taking advantage of just a fraction of that energy, we can power our homes, office buildings, and manufacturing plants. Add in the fact that most solar panels can supply renewable energy for more than 30 years, and you’ve got a win-win situation on your hands. As of December 2017, there was only 49 GW of total solar capacity in the United States. We have a long way to go.
Green roofs are newer on the scene and involves, at a minimum, high-quality water-proofing, root repellent system, drainage system, filter cloth, a lightweight growing medium, and plants. Though the benefits are less well-known in North America, they do still exist: in addition to being aesthetically pleasing, they contribute to stormwater management by retaining and reusing rainwater. In the summer, green roofs retain 70% to 90% of the rainwater that falls on them; anything that is not absorbed gets naturally filtered. Considering the fact that the average roof can collect over 600 gallons of water with just one inch of rainfall, the impact on water pollution and waste is profound. Plus, having a store of plants on the roof of your home acts as your very own air filter.
A Green Capital
Given the positive results both systems offer, it’s surprising this combination has taken so long to emerge. Consider the fact that solar energy is the most abundant source of energy on earth — 173,000 terawatts That being said, it couldn’t have happened in a more fitting place; Washington, DC, is no stranger to green living. With one of the best tax incentives in the country (a 30% tax credit for residential and commercial buildings with solar systems), it’s no wonder the compact city has over three million square feet of green roofs, and 50 MW+ of solar installations.
If more people are able to realize how complementary solar panels and green roofs truly are, the sustainable possibilities are endless.