Individual action against green house gas, thermal gain can make a difference

As the sea level here in Miami rises faster than originally predicted just a few years ago, we at DeepStream Designs have put a lot of effort into providing a full range of garden plantersgreen wall grids, and hanging planters that can help reduce global warming by absorbing carbon, releasing oxygen, reducing both water usage and the solar gain that heats building walls, roofs, and surrounding pavement while reducing the energy need to cool buildings.  This is a virtuous cycle that reduces the fossil fuels used in electricity generation used to provide artificial cooling to the same buildings.

Container grown plants cool roof decks

Container grown plants cool roof decks

Railing mounted planter box on parking garage

Railing mounted planter box on parking garage

According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), buildings are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.  According to estimates in the AIA’s Architects and Climate Change report, buildings represent 48 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, with transportation and industry representing 27 percent and 25 percent respectively.

Some people argue global change is normal state, that there is no proof of human impact on climate change, it is just a normal process humans have no impact on.

 

Green Wall Garden Planter

Climate change may have normal cycles, but there is nothing historically normal about the human population explosion and the impact that their energy consumption and pollution has on the earth’s bio systems.  Many independent thinking people believe that the individual CAN make a difference.  However, working in conjunction with Architects we could do a lot more.

 

Not only do high concentrations of people in mega-buildings concentrate green house gas, but building these high-density buildings also increases the surface area on, if not of, the earth that can absorb heat.  It is not just office towers; residential condo towers are creating increasingly dense urban and coastal areas that contribute to the formation of “heat islands” and global warming by adding heat-retaining surface area.   Any city resident knows that it is often 10 degrees warmer in the city than the suburbs or rural areas around them.

 Green Wall Garden Planter

The Green Roof movement is great, but the ratio of wall to roof area is much greater on high-rise buildings.  If Architects designed balconies with drainage and water spigots built into their clients’ high-rise buildings, it would allow residents and offices to help offset their impact to a far greater degree both in terms of cooling and exchanging oxygen for carbon and absorbing other pollutants.

 

Successful landscaping and gardening on balconies and rooftops, especially of condo towers, has many challenges that residents with terrestrial gardens in homes don’t share, especially if the building Architect is not on the same page.  Balcony and rooftop gardening, however, can help offset the green house gas emissions and despite the difficulties in cooling these heat islands, it is a worthy endeavor within the grasp of individuals using low tech, renewable resources.

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