Photo: Xavier TESTELIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Green rooftops are growing in popularity, offering a slew of environmental benefits, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The rooftops on apartments or commercial buildings often feature lawn areas, grills and seating. Some host community gardens, blossoming vegetables and herbs. But the greenery, and corresponding absence of asphalt and shingles, doesn't just up the aesthetic, it lowers surrounding temperatures, reduces energy use and assists in filtering storm water.

  • Green Roofs for Healthy Cities estimates the rooftops in North America have increased roughly 15% since 2013.
  • The National Research Council of Canada estimated the rooftops can lower a building's air conditioning use up to 75%.
  • Plants on rooftops are able to absorb rain water before it hits the ground, acting as filters and reducing runoff.
  • And, through evapotranspiration, plants cool the surrounding air by evaporating moisture, allowing temperatures to cool.

Between the lines: In many cities, the rooftops are no longer optional.

  • Both New York City and San Francisco have passed requirements for newly constructed buildings to have some component of green roofs, solar panels or both.
  • In 2010, Copenhagen made green roofs a requirement for all new commercial buildings, with a caveat for those with over a 30-degree slope.
  • In 2016, Córdoba, Argentina, passed legislation requiring all rooftops over 1,300 square feet, regardless of age, to turn green.

Go deeper: How I am trying to get greener and cheaper electricity

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Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.

Federal judge blocks DOJ from defending Trump in Carroll rape defamation case

E. Jean Carroll in Warwick, New York. Photo: Eva Deitch for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed the Justice Department's attempted intervention on behalf of President Trump in writer E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit against him, after she accused him of raping her in a dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Catch up quick: The agency argued that Trump was "acting within the scope of his office" as president when he said in 2019 that Carroll was "lying" about her claim.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse — The swing states where the pandemic is raging.
  2. Health: The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.
  7. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.