A Floating Green Roof: Cruise Ship Goes "Green"?

green roof cruise ship photo

Image credit: Green Roof Service
Cruise Ship Features Green Roof and other Efficiency Measures
Cruise ships and shipping are a massive source of pollution. Moves are underway to explore biofuels for cruise ships, and to utilize cruise ship traffic as a force for conservation- you can even take a look at Kristin's list of 7 ocean friendly cruises. But giant floating hotels driven by fossil fuels are a pretty hard thing to turn green. Unless of course you are talking about the roof. Over at GreenRoofs.com we hear about a 122,000 ton cruise ship that is now decked out with 15,000 square feet of green roof, installed by Green Roof Service LLC. Of course the logistical challenges of installing a green roof on an ocean going cruise ship are interesting to say the least - and the success of this projects bodes well for green roofs elsewhere. But beyond the literal greenness of this thing, I wonder about its ecological impact. After all, photos and press releases suggest this is about maintaining pristine turf for putting, croquet and picnics - which means this is hardly likely to be a wildlife haven for passing bees (?!). Not to mention irrigation needs, and the requirement for "easy replacement of turf". There will, undoubtedly, be some benefit in avoiding oil and other toxic runoff from the deck, but overall this doesn't get the TreeHugger in me overly thrilled. (Somebody with more knowledge of green roofs may be able to tell me if I am overly cynical.)

Fortunately the press release does also list other impressive measures that are being taken on the Celebrity Solstice to cut emissions:

- Entire ship with mostly LED lightning technology saves over 20% of power.
- Four Hybrid (Common Rail Diesel-Electro) engines.
- All roofs have photovoltaics (including glass roofs).
- Advanced biological waste water treatment facility.
- Recycling and separation of trash and waste.
- Fresh water production with reused heat and reverse osmosis and low chlorine.
- Reuse and refining of oil on board.
- Run-off collection tank only for green roof.
- Corporate leadership with "Save The Waves" program.

I won't be likely to take a cruise any time soon, and when I do I don't think I'll be demanding a golf course on the roof - but I am pleased to see efforts to cut back on the gargantuan power consumption of these ships...

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