Oct 9, 2019

Green rooftops surge in popularity and offer environmental benefits

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

Go deeper

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.