Admittedly, this is not the simplest swap, but we love ours, and expect it to last for many decades. Green-Living-Vegetative roofs (or walls) optimize otherwise ignored square footage, appreciably reducing your environmental footprint.
- Absorbs and slows rainy run-off.
- Beautiful for people…and pollinators.
- Insulates buildings and cools urban heat-islands.
- Xeriscaping plants require minimal attention.
- Plants absorb and store carbon, reducing a building’s GHGe footprint.
- Properly designed systems retain water for plants; resilient against wildfires.
- Structure and roof materials must be carefully engineered and installed.
- Plant for the microclimate created.
- Roof slope, access, building materials are crucial.
About asphalt shingles:
- Crude-oil based; toxic run-off.
- 11 million tons of toxic waste in the US every year.
- Absorb sun’s heat = more AC, plus exacerbating heat islands.
About metal roofs:
- 100% recyclable.
- Long lifespan.
- Cool-roof reflective coatings available.
- Mining-manufacturing embeds significant energy and damage.
- Impermeable surface; runoff damages plants below.
- Snow-shedding can be fast and dangerous.
Laura & Gil
Our friends Laura & Gil Richardson are, in their own words, “imperfect” but they are much further down this Planetarian path than anyone I know. They are a treasure trove of sustainable living inspiration and we’ve asked them to share one simple swap per week that they’ve made (and the products they love) in hopes it might inspire you to make them, too.