If you have been following the blog, you know that I wrote an article about Urban Agriculture in Regina (https://reginaurbanecology.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/urban-agriculture-101/). In it I touched on the concept of green rooves and wanted more info about the project on the roof of Bushwaaker: Was it in effect? Did it fall by the wayside? Are there more green rooves in the city? Well, ladies and gentleman, I have found some answers.
This week I sat down with Bruno Hernani, a consultant with ERIN Consulting Ltd., who did his master’s degree on that very project! Here is what I learned:
Initially the project was to test different types of soils in the rooftop plots to understand what would make a good growing medium specific to Regina and the prairies. The project is still going and they are gathering new information all of the time: they examine different plant species (mostly native species) and the benefits to having a green roof installed (insulation and cooling benefits, etc). So, it would appear as though that research continues to be successful and figuring out how to make green rooves work on the prairies.
Hernani also told me that aside from the project on Bushwaaker, the U of S has a rooftop garden and the U of R also has one (I think I knew that, but it slipped my mind). Those, however, were the only other projects he knew of – it would seem as though the green roof bug has not quite bit Saskatchewan just yet. It seems as though green roofs are very popular, but most people and groups that are thinking of installing one think more about their aesthetic than their function. Hernani mentioned that because of this some green roofs are installed in locations that may be less productive and beneficial (i.e. shadey spots). He also mentioned that it has not taken off as much as it could because it is a little expensive – and why wouldn’t it be? All of the expertise needed to have a functional green roof that will reduce heating and cooling costs, increase water retention, and add some aesthetic benefit requires money, but one could argue that the benefits are worth it.
So, will we be seeing more green rooves grace Regina’s skyline any time soon? Apparently the Science Centre is toying with the idea of adding one to their facility, and with the new downtown plan putting more emphasis on green technologies one can only hope!
For more info on Bruno Hernani, who also started his own non-profit, GreenRoots Sustainable Living Inc., follow the link: