The Green Matters e-newsletter is designed to give you a quick glimpse of important sustainability initiatives happening around the metro Atlanta region and beyond. Whether it's the latest research, new educational offerings, environmental stewardship efforts or potential funding opportunities, this e-newsletter will help you stay abreast of what's happening in this important subject area.
Designing Green Roofs for Stormwater Management
Green roofs have consistently experienced double-digit growth over the past decade. An annual market survey conducted by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities showed that the North American green roof industry grew by 10 percent in 2013 over 2012, with a total of 519,151 m2 (6.4 million sf) on 950 projects installed in 2012.
Green roofs offer multiple environmental, ecological and economic benefits to urban areas. Many municipalities in North America are encouraging their implementation through bylaws and incentive programs.
Currently, 33 cities in North America have dedicated policies, incentives and/or guidelines to promote green roof implementation. And these enticements have been proven successful as proven by the fact that seven of the 10 North American metro regions with the highest green roof area installed in 2013 have supportive policies or programs.
These policies and programs come in many forms. Some offer financial incentives directly through grants and rebates (New York City) or indirectly through reduction in stormwater fees and property taxes (Washington D.C.). Others involve accelerated building permits (Chicago) or low interest loans (Cincinnati). Some programs give density bonuses for additional
floorspace-based green roof coverage (Portland). While most North American policies generally involve incentives that encourage green roof implementation, there are also those that penalize for non-compliance (Toronto).
Green Roof Program
(Green Communities Measure #30)
The Green Communities certification program recognizes communities that have facilities with vegetated roofs. These green roofs help reduce stormwater runoff and the heat island effect while increasing the energy efficiency of buildings.
The city of Decatur, a platinum-level participant, is one of four Green Communities to have a green roof on a government facility. In 2012, Decatur’s Historic Fire Station #1 was renovated as part of the city’s effort to have all
city facilities achieve LEED certification. One of the many energy and water efficiency retrofits completed during the project was the installation of the green roof. In addition to being friendly to the environment, the roof is accessible from the fire crew’s living quarters and serves as a convenient place to take in fresh air.
Make it Personal
Beautiful Ways to Capture Stormwater in the Home Landscape
River of Rocks
– You can turn drainage solutions into features that enhance your landscape—and protect natural waterways. Ditches can be landscaped as swales that look like dry creek beds or small meadows. Gutter water can flow into rain gardens that provide a habitat for butterflies and birds. And driveways, patios, and walkways can be constructed of pervious paving that never puddles because water seeps through. These measures allow stormwater to sink into the soil gradually, reducing flooding.
– Swales are depressions that follow the contour around the base of a slope (natural or created), channeling storm water from one place to another. They filter runoff along the way by allowing it to sink into the soil. Plants on a swale’s gently sloping banks—and sometimes down the center of the channel itself—take up much of this water. The addition of a perforated pipe laid in gravel underneath can help handle heavy water flow.
– Shallow catch basins planted as flower beds called rain gardens allow water to pool during a downpour, and then slowly percolate into the soil. Where a swale is mostly a travel route for water, a rain garden is a destination. A fast-draining soil mix encourages water to sink in and promotes lush plant growth. Runoff may flow into a rain garden from a swale or pipe, or may accumulate from a sloping yard.