An earlier post on this blog deals with Toronto’s massive building boom. More than 150 skyscrapers (buildings over 120 meters high) are at various stages of construction all across our city.
This massive growth is particularly evident in the downtown core of the city where our hostel is located. The addition of so many new high-rise structures threatens to increase the “concrete jungle” feel of our city.
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They don’t mean green as in coloured green or painted green; but, living green rooftops as in “plants, grass, flowers and trees”.
Toronto’s new legislation requires all residential, commercial and institutional buildings over 2,000 square meters to have between 20 and 60 percent living roofs. This is the first city in North America requiring such a mandate (following the leads of Switzerland and Tokyo).
Chicago actually led the way more than a decade ago (in 2000) when it built a massive (38,800 sq. ft.) “roof garden” on a new 12 story building. The benefits to this type of construction have proven to be far greater than mere ascetics.
The building saves over $5000 on annual utility bills; a 34% reduction in heat-loss in winter; and a massive 84% reduction in heat gain in summer.
Today, Chicago has over 7 million sq. ft. of green rooftops and New York City has followed suit beginning with the Con Edison Learning Center in Queens.
Lower utility bills aren’t the only benefit of planting a living roof. It cools down the city; creates cleaner air and water; provides a peaceful oasis for people, birds and insects in an otherwise polluted, concrete and asphalt-covered environment.
Toronto has been a world leader in big city cleanliness, safety and muli-culturalism. Now we’ve joined the “green revolution” with a vengence!
Look out world! HERE WE COME!