WHY GREEN ROOFS? CONNECTING ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN ECOLOGY, BALTIMORE, MD

Open Access
Author:
Kurtz, Joseph V
Graduate Program:
Landscape Architecture
Degree:
Master of Landscape Architecture
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
None
Committee Members:
  • Larry James Gorenflo, Thesis Advisor
  • Bonj Szczygiel, Thesis Advisor
  • Robert Berghage Jr., Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • Stormwater
  • Habitat
  • Green Roofs
  • GIS
Abstract:
The residential sector is typically viewed as being outside the green roof's practical range. Cost, complexity, and the lack of a clear link between potential green roof patches and green infrastructure all represent obstacles to living roof implementation in this sector. This research addresses how building practices can connect with green infrastructure and their potential to affect an urban ecosystem more broadly and how the stormwater and habitat aspects of green roofs could motivate design. Green roof options were modeled using geographical information system (GIS) technology across various scales in order to highlight the environmental impacts such implementation might produce in relation to stormwater runoff and habitat creation. By extrapolating research into the effects of green roofs on stormwater, it is predicted that with 100% adoption a residential greening program could reduce runoff from a 2-year design storm by 4.7% citywide and 8% in the more densely developed inner-city neighborhoods. Further, 100% adoption would reduce annual runoff by 4.5% citywide and 21% in neighborhoods such as Upper Fell’s Point. In terms of the urban ecosystem, an analysis of landscape metrics determined that a 52% adoption rate might begin to meet habitat requirements for one species of butterfly, Hesperia, once endemic to the area. Roof design and implementation options that might satisfy these regional stormwater and habitat requirements are illustrated. With their highly impacted ecosystems and little available open space, urban regions are particularly suitable for the application of such non-traditional building practices. Underscoring the potential role that green roofs can play in environmental remediation may help in improving green roof adoption rates in this sector.