Open Space Seattle:2100

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Green Factor

via ASLA's The Dirt via the DJC via DPD comes one pretty cool new tool: the Seattle Green Factor. Based on European models, the tool ensures that open space/landscape requirements in the city code also create target levels of ecological performance. From the press release:

The green factor will encourage the planting of layers of vegetation and larger trees in areas visible to the public and in the public rights-of-way directly adjacent to the property. There are additional bonuses for using rainwater harvesting and/or low-water use plantings. Use of larger trees, tree preservation, green roofs and even green walls is encouraged by this proposal.


  • The "Green Factor" is in principle a good idea but I question the high value given to putting soil on the roofs of buildings. The added weight means additional required structure for the building (we are in a high seismic zone after all), how environmental is it to require more steel in a building? The soil then has to be irrigated all summer when we have the greatest shortage of water, again more pipes and other construction material (forget using the rain, there isn't any when you need it). Lastly, when a roof starts leaking in December, the whole mess has to be removed somewhere to get at the problem. This technology just doesn't make sense in our geographical area.

    I hope we get some true environmental scientists involved to look at the life cycle of this program, it smells of politics to me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:22 PM  

  • I don't think you understand how green roofs really work. The issues you brought up can all be covered in the design phase of a roof. Green roofs have shown to be less costly over the life span of the roof than conventional roofs. More green roofs is a legitimate part of the response to the environmental issues facing us.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:56 AM  

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