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Green Roof calculator shows water, money savings of green roofs

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jun 14, 2012 11:15:00 PM

Washington -- A new online calculator from American Rivers lets individuals discover the benefits of installing green roofs on their homes and businesses. Green roofs are gaining popularity as cities look for cost-effective ways to protect and restore clean water.

A green roof is one that is covered with plants and shrubs. By absorbing rainwater and providing insulation for the building, a green roof prevents storm runoff from polluting local streams and reduces heating and cooling costs.

The “Get More Green” calculator, available at http://green.americanrivers.org/, allows visitors to enter an address via Google Maps, and determine the square footage of a building’s roof. Visitors then get a customized look at the benefits of their green roof -- including the annual estimated cost savings for heating, cooling, and roof repair, along with how much polluted runoff will be kept out of their local stream.

“Clean water is our most precious natural resource. Most of our drinking water comes from rivers, so communities need cost-effective solutions for ensuring our rivers and drinking water supplies stay clean,” said Katherine Baer, senior director of the clean water program at American Rivers. “Greening a roof is a win-win because it saves money, and helps stop pollution.”

The calculator also offers a look at the potential benefits of greening some famous roofs. The White House, for example, could save close to $17,000 annually on heating and cooling costs and maintenance. Greening the roof of the Bellagio in Las Vegas would prevent more than 630,000 gallons of polluted runoff from entering a nearby stream each year.

Some high-profile roofs have already gone green, including Chicago’s Town Hall and the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Boston and Virginia.

Every year, billions of gallons of rainwater fall on roofs, roads, and parking lots. Instead of getting absorbed, this runoff picks up pollution and flows into nearby streams and rivers. Installing a green roof is just one way individuals, communities, and businesses can save money and promote clean water through “green” or “natural” infrastructure. Planting trees, installing rain gardens, restoring rivers and wetlands, and embracing water efficiency measures are other solutions gaining popularity thanks to their multiple economic, environmental, and social benefits. These benefits are illustrated in a short video, http://green.americanrivers.org/why-green-roofs.html


American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.

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