Image courtesy of benketaro via flickr
With an eye to the growing market in eco-friendly gardening supplies, Suntory Ltd., a Japanese brewer no less, has developed an "alternative soil" - Pafcal - which can be used cover roofs and walls to reduce temperatures - by minimizing the "heat island" effect commonly associated with dense urban areas. The synthetic soil substitute weighs less than half as much as the real product and is made of urethane, a sponge-like material.According to Suntory officials, plants grown in Pafcal can reduce roof temperatures by up to 10°C (about 18°F). Because buildings in Tokyo - the world's largest city (and often prone to earthquakes) - have strict restrictions on their load capacity, the light soil substitute could help both accommodate more greenery and allow builders to meet the new guidelines.
This wouldn't be the first time we've covered green roofs (for a veritable smorgasbord of posts, check out our extensive archive); in addition to helping reduce both temperatures and emissions, Suntory's latest offering has the advantage of being much lighter. Leave it up to the Japanese to come up with these ideas!