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A rooftop garden, also called a green roof, utilizes rooftop space for growing plants. There are several possible advantages to rooftop gardening. The gardens can be beneficial to the environment, as well as the specific owner of the rooftop.
Rooftop gardening can help improve the quality of the atmosphere. The plants absorb carbon dioxide in the air and convert it into oxygen, which is released into the air. Since the rooftop plants can absorb some of the excess amounts of carbon dioxide higher up in the air, they can potentially reduce the effects of air pollution.
Another environmental advantage of rooftop gardening can be increased energy conservation. The rooftop plants provide natural insulation to rooftops by reflecting light and heat. The extra insulation can reduce the need for heating or cooling mechanisms, which cuts down on energy use and home utility costs. The insulation from rooftop gardens can also block outdoor noises.
Many large cities experience increased daytime temperatures caused by numerous rooftops. Since urban areas tend to have more buildings, the rooftops absorb heat and light and then radiate it back into the area. This event is referred to as the “heat island effect” and can actually raise the natural temperature averages in those areas. The plants in rooftop gardens can aid in reducing “the heat island effect” by partially absorbing some of the sunlight and providing shade for buildings.
Rooftop gardens may be beneficial in areas which accumulate a great deal of rain. Storm runoff water can especially overflow sewer systems. The plants can absorb some of the rainwater and limit the runoff from excess water. Rooftop gardening, in turn, has the potential to reduce the occurrences of flooding.
Using rooftops to grow plants can free up ground space. This extra space can leave room for growing more agricultural crops. Rooftop gardens can also provide more opportunities for growing fresh produce for populations that have little ground area for crops, which can help reduce food shortages in poor, urban areas.
Rooftop gardening can potentially protect rooftops from damage and deterioration. The lifetime of a rooftop can be shortened due to ultraviolet radiations, severe temperatures or excess winds. Rooftop gardens can form a barrier that protects the roof so homeowners are less likely to have to repair or replace them.
Transplanting gardens to the rooftop can be beneficial gardeners who have bushes, shrubs, or other plants that are prone to attacks from pests and small animals. Moving plants up higher can reduce vermin, as well as prevent the human or animals trampling of delicate plants that can occur on the ground. Rooftop gardens can also add aesthetic value to a home.