China's Learning to Love Green Roofs

For every step that China takes in its blindingly fast Western-style economic growth, there almost always seems to be concurrent steps focused on the environmental impact of that same growth. So, while cars and drive-through fast food are catching on in the country, so are green roofs, it turns out. With Beijing planning for 45% greenery coverage by 2008, rooftops are starting to look mighty appealing:

According to statistics, the cost of removing and greening in megalopolises like Beijing and Shanghai, where land is as precious as gold, is startlingly ranging from 10 thousand Yuan to 50 thousand Yuan per square meter. Yet the roof greening is much cheaper, "at least no land cost thereof", said Wang Xianmin, secretary general of Beijing Roof Garden Association to the reporter. It is introduced that the cost for high-grade roof garden is no more than 500 Yuan per square meter, and the simple grass roof 150 Yuan per square meter. The price is still decreasing.

Since the second half of 2004, the market has been changed obviously along with the social concern of roof greening. There are more and more companies ask Liu Guoxiong's company [Beijing Green Environment Design and Service Co., Ltd.] for consultancies or propose to conduct roof greening initiatively. Now Liu's company has implemented the roof greening projects for Beijing Chemical Mansion and Sunshine Mansion, etc. The project that they received in daily routine is generally a business with an area between 2000 and 3000 square meters. In 2005, the biggest roof greening they did was Fuzhuo garden in Xuanwu District, Beijing, which was over 10 thousand square meters. Their company scale doubled and the profit increased tremendously.

These big plans will create big environmental impacts: the United Nations Environment Program estimates an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide levels in Beijing should green roofing reach a rate of 70%. As the Chinese show little evidence of slowing down on any kind of development, this is welcome news. In fact, though green roofing is still a young practice in China, landscaping companies with little knowledge or experience in the field are trying their hand at it in order to get in early. Looks like a promising development at a needed time! ::China Economic Net via Hugg