Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Sod roof

decrease flooding and increase arable acreage
  (+3, -2)
(+3, -2)
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Here in the midwest U.S., almost all of our streams are impacted by excessive nutrient inputs (from agriculture) and flash flooding from the over construction of non-porous surfaces such as roofs and pavements. To mke matters worse, huge warehouses and distribution hubs are popping up all over the landscape adding yet more hard surfaces to our watersheds and taking away highly productive farmland. Instead of creating buildings with rigid roofs designed to shed water, perhaps they could be constructed to hold a layer of soil (or other medium) that could grow grasses. The roof would temporarily store some level of precipitation and reduce the effects of flooding. Additionally, waste water from the buildings could be applied to the roofs and the grasses would filter nutrients and pollutants from it. The grass could be harvested and used as silage or biomass fuel. It could even possibly be used as habitat by some species of grassland birds. Of course this whole idea would make most sense in conjunction with a holistic building plan that takes all aspects of development into consideration - porous parking lots and grassed waterways for example.
positron, Feb 27 2002

(?) Toronto City Hall Green Roof http://www.peck.ca/grhcc/overviewdemo.htm
Not just sod: also trees, butterflies, etc. [wiml, Mar 01 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Green roofs website http://www.greenroofs.com/
General info on growing stuff on your roof [wiml, Mar 01 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Ford plants its plant with plants. http://www.freep.co.../roof9_20020809.htm
This Ford truck plant will with a "living roof", one of many such buildings around the world. Good article. [rowlycat, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       should I give a croissant because I think this is a good idea, or a fish because it's a very very baked idea? numerous places do this.   

       [(edit) in Switzerland, for instance, new construction is apprently required to replace any green space covered by the building's footprint by putting greenery on the roof.]
wiml, Feb 27 2002

       Surely the roof area in the midwest is pretty negligible compared to the total ground area, making this fairly pointless as a way of trapping rainwater.
pottedstu, Feb 27 2002

       Baked. and I spent the last day scraping the moss and sod off the roof of my new house. (that's what caught my attention)
rbl, Feb 27 2002

       there's a cool place near Victoria BC called Coombs that is very small and has goats on the roof of the market. They have lovely sod under their hoofs and hang out all spring, summer and fall. (too rainy and slippery on Vancouver island in the winter).
teatime, Feb 27 2002

       More sod roofs can be found in China...particularly at the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven. Not that they meant for things to grow up there...
Guncrazy, Feb 27 2002

       Fishbone! Two reasons:   

       A) Baked. So incredibly baked. You can find it in old tales from Europe, the practice has never died out and now it's even in corporate America, even Ford. [Link.]   

       B) What is this friggin love-affair with sod? Does it taste good? It's for people to sit inside and look at out at. To mow. It's a carpet for outside.   

       Think rooftop vegetable garden. I knew a guy who did this for his building. Not only did he have fresh veggies, but the neigbors could go hang out up there in the evenings, tend their plants, crack open a a few beers... Changed the whole atmosphere of the building.   

       Since my appendix stopped breaking down cellulose (some kind of genetic disorder - runs in my family, affects a significant percentage of the population), it's real hard for me to eat grass. I once had neighbors who hated me because I had this nice watermelon patch out back (delicious and pretty). They had grass, over which they constantly ran noisy, stinking, pollution-spewing equipment (except on days the ChemLawn truck came and fogged my house).   

       That "nutrient input"? Well, that's what the ChemLawn truck was spraying, among many other tasty chemicals. A lot of that fertilizer runoff is from lawns. Wouldn't companies with sod roofs want them plush and green, thus fertilizing heavily and increasing the problem?   

       Check out Alice Outwater's excellent book WATER. Short, readable, on this topic. You'll love it.   


       Sod this idea! Sod sod!
rowlycat, Dec 15 2002

       The idea is sound and coming back into focus. The problem is that the Midwest is relatively dry- considered arid. Sod itself is the worst thing you can grow under such conditions. Your sod roof would soon be a large patch of brittle brown hay. Read "Suburban Nation," or "Waterstained Landscapes" or check out Pablo Solari's Arcosanti- link not known- for wholistic building practices, or any of the "Earthship" books. Croissant I say for thinking in the right direction- practical apps.
ASLAN, Dec 16 2002

       Sod everything. Bloody Monday.
horripilation, Dec 16 2002

       You dumb sod! (I like the idea though, sod!)
ImBack, Dec 17 2002

       [teatime] I live about 20 minutes away from Coombs. Neat place, made only neater by the fact that it is one of the few areas left in Canada without zoning laws. You can build pretty much anything you want in Coombs. Want a two story outhouse? No problem! Put farm animals on the roof? Sure! Better yet, let's put a highly flammable substance on our roof and hope that it doesn't catch on fire and spread rapidly during the dry season.   

       Yeah, the Coombs Country Market can get away with it since there's no one to tell them not to. Otherwise, it's a fire hazard unless the building is designed to lessen the risks in the planning stages.   

       On a different note, my own roof has evolved its own water sponge naturally. A two-inch thick layer of moss coats most of it.
rapid transit, May 16 2003

       Obviously the biomass would have to be climate-appropriate. Cacti in the midwestern desert, mosses and lichens in the far north, ewc.
submitinkmonkey, Mar 10 2005


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