I'm really just looking for an excuse to live in a Hobbit house!
The roofs in the slideshow (link below) are amazing, especially the Beijing Capital International Airport.
Sustainability is no longer just a trend, a buzz word or even a preference, when it comes to architecture and design. It's the standard. It's vital. And this "greening" of cities continues to take new, exciting forms, as well as adopt old ones.
Consider green or "living" roofs. Forward-thinking Germany (where reportedly 10% of roofs are green) led the pack in the 1960s, and the trend spread throughout Europe. And why wouldn't it, when you think of the advantages? Lower heating and cooling costs, the ability to pull pollution from the air, and increased real estate values and the creation of intimate spaces in the environment are just a few. And, well, what's more aesthetically pleasing--a concrete expanse or a lush landscape? Green roofs can be minimalist, dramatic, landscaped or wild.
Why are green roofs such a great idea?
First, they help to reduce roof stormwater runoff. In some cases, this can help reduce the size of stormwater pipes, and the amount of stormwater that needs to be treated by municipal water treatment. In a light rainfall, a building with a vegetated roof can have no stormwater runoff at all.
Green roofs also protect the roof membrane from sunlight, which breaks down the roofing material. Having even a couple inches of soil helps to greatly extend the life of the roof, and a longer lifespan means less material ends up in landfills from re-roofing buildings after the membranes have failed.
Green roofs keep the roof cooler, which helps to reduce the heat-island effect, which contributes to cities being hotter than the surrounding countryside. This can be beneficial to the building in reducing its summertime cooling load.
A green roof is also a source of oxygen and provides a habitat for some birds. Birds and insects can find homes much more readily in the living environment of a green roof, where an ordinary roof is nearly barren. And yes, it's even possible to graze goats.