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More is More
Green roofs are an idiosyncratic technology. The term itself denotes widely varying and nuanced conditions with basic, common elements. Although all green roofs must satisfy the same essential technical requirements, every green roof is unique to the extent that it is based on a living, dynamic system. It is likely that there is more than a single best practice for green roof design, even within one climatic region. We may develop a spectrum of best practices that accord with various microclimates, conditions, and building scenarios. "Green" is really multiple shades of green.

Green roofs might be an advantageous option for some Austin buildings but not a good choice for others. Furthermore, different kinds of green roofs are viable for different circumstances. Each roof design is a product of particular variables, from the building it sits on to budget constraints, goals, and site factors. Aesthetics, end uses, ecological considerations, level of maintenance, and architectural innovation all vary from roof to roof. These variations offer exciting opportunities and challenges.

How green roofs accrue environmental benefits depends on how, and how much, they constitute our combined urban "roofscape." This is a matter of scale as well as visibility. Will green roofs in Austin remain within the realm of high-end, high-profile sustainable design, or will the city ultimately embrace them as a way to help tackle hefty environmental issues like stormwater runoff? Will Austin scatter green roofs through residential neighborhoods or go for the big box stores? Attempt greatest net coverage or greatest range of coverage? Perhaps a strategic combination of all the above.

Green roofs as a tool can have a great range of utility if we maximize diversity in their design and application. There are many potential stakeholders: For salamander, homeowner, developer, and city hall, green roofs bring together multiple concerns in a single architectural, sustainable feature.

GRoWERS exists to ask and begin to answer questions about green roofs in our region. What are some of those questions? We can view them in terms of Water, Sun, Mineral, Vegetal, Animal, and Human.

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