Extensive adoption of green roofs in a million-person city could capture 55,000 tons of CO2 annually, according to a two-year study from Michigan State University.
Prior to this study, there had been no major analytics conducted on the true impact of green roofs, according to a press release from MSU.
Using sedum, a plant that has been used atop Minneapolis’ Target Center and the American Life and Insurance Co. headquarters in Kentucky, the research determined that every square meter of sedum sequestered 375 grams of CO2 per year.
The research was led by MSU horticulture professor Brad Rowe and doctoral research assistant Kristin Getter. MSU maintains a comprehensive repository of green roof research.
Rowe said that 375 grams per square meter is not a large amount, but that if buildings were equipped with green roofs over a large area, it would amount to a significant carbon sink.
Rowe has been testing green roof technology since 2000. At MSU’s Plant and Soil Sciences Building (pictured above), he grows tomatoes and green peppers, as well as other plants.