Visitors to the Albemarle County Citizens Open House today, got an up close look at a roof that is far from typical. From up close this may just look like a normal plant is your backyard garden but it is part of much more. This is the green roof constructed on the top of the Albemarle County office building on McIntire Road it is providing all sorts of ecological benefits to the area.
Sean Dougherty, Senior Planner for Albemarle County says, "It improves storm water quality and it slows the rate at which water returns to the natural environment at a more natural rate."
The green roof also has an impact on the urban heat island effect, by decrease the amount of heat that is absorbed and retained by the building. This decrease can lead to potential economic benefits as well.
Sean continues by saying, "The small layer of vegetation also buffers the building from the hottest rays of the sun during the summer time with a small layer of shade but actually works to increase the energy efficiency of the building from ten to thirty percent."
The green roof was initially planted in July of 2005 but now it is almost completely grown in. They are expecting it to be completely filled in by July 2007.
A series of instruments on and around the roof allow Sean to measure the temperature and water quality of the soil. In the near future, we should be able to see the true impact of the roof on our local ecosystem.
"We would see certain things come back to Shanks Branch which now seem impossible."
For more information visit www.albemarle.org/environment
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