Looking Up concludes that green roofs and cool roofs would save energy and money, reduce global warming pollution, and relieve stress on California's limited fresh water supply. Coauthored by Cara Horowitz, the study quantifies these benefits and makes policy recommendations for promoting smart roofs.
Installing green roofs and cool roofs in southern California could save consumers more than $211 million in energy bills and reduce emissions equivalent to removing 91,000 cars from the road each year, according to Looking Up, a new study from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. Installing green roofs will additionally reduce stormwater runoff that pollutes our beaches.
If green roofs or cool roofs were installed on 50 percent of existing roof surfaces for residential, commercial, and government and public use buildings in southern California, it could save up to 1.6 million megawatt hours of electricity annually, enough energy to power more than 127,000 homes in California and save residents up to $211 million in energy costs each year based on 2012 rates. The energy savings would cut carbon pollution by 465,000 metric tons annually.
Because green roofs absorb and evaporate rainfall, installing green roofs on 50 percent of the existing roof surfaces could reduce stormwater runoff by more than 36 billion gallons each year-enough to fill more than 54,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools-significantly reducing the volume of pollution reaching our local waters.
"The scale of these benefits is truly impressive, and justifies a much more aggressive set of policies and incentives to help advance the adoption of green roofs and cool roofs in our region," said Cara Horowitz, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation executive director of the Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. "If Los Angeles and other southern California cities provided better incentives for residential and commercial building owners to install green roofs and cool roofs, we would have healthier, more sustainable neighborhoods and save money too."
To read the report click here.