With soaring temperatures, offices are turning up the air conditioning, using energy and adding to the climate crisis. As urban areas have hard, dense surfaces, the temperature in a city can be 1- 3 degrees C hotter than the surrounding countryside. 

‘The urban heat island effect’ shown here by Berkeley Lab.

But ‘living roofs’ can cool overheating cities and provide precious habitats for birdsbees and insects. Nomura, a Japanese bank, eleven stories high in London has created a hidden haven for wildlife. Around 159 species of plants are flourishing on the rooftop – orchids, daisies and wild herbs provide food to 17 species of bees.

Copenhagen, San Francisco, Toronto and Singapore also know how beneficial ‘eco roofs’ can be. They have made it a legal requirement for green roofs to be installed in new building developments.

Living roofs cover all the buildings at Toronto Zoo.

So greening rooftops across the globe could reduce summer temperatures by 1 – 2 degrees C and save billions in energy costs per year!

AND a green roof:

  • absorbs harmful pollution from the air and converts carbon dioxide into oxygen
  • retains rainfall for use by the plants, easing pressure on sewers with flash flooding
  • it lasts twice as long as a conventional roof
  • and looks beautiful like these offices in Singapore.

You can even do your bit to help the bees with a sedum roof on a bike shed.