Thursday, May 7, 2009

Green Roofs and Earthquakes


When is green not so green? When it makes a roof much heavier in earthquake country. And Toronto is truly earthquake country, as the new hazard maps show.

What's the best way to build for earthquakes? Light and strong roofs! None of that heavy clay tile crap -- sheer suicide! In fact, reinforced paper houses are the best for severe zones. They flex, and have virtually no mass, like a tent. When the earthquake hits, mass is your enemy!

So, if we want a nice green roof, we have to make the whole structure heavier and stronger. That sucks up a lot of building materials, like concrete, which are definitely not green to make. Why not put a windmill on top, which will need even more mass? I am sure the plants on the roof will never compensate for all the pollution that has to go into building it.

Of course, we could just ignore the earthquake situation, and pile on roof mass without greatly increasing lateral support. Sort of like Chinese schools....

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