Inhabitat has a great post today about green roof tiles manufactured by a subsidiary of Toyota called the Toyota Roof Garden Corporation. These 20″ square tiles are intended to be put down like carpet, and their base can connect directly into existing irrigation systems, thus making the tiles self-watering. The tiles are only two inches thick- likely eliminating the need for additional structural support of the underlying roof in most cases- and consist of a type of grass from Korea which only requires cutting once each year.
I would personally like to see green roofs installed on existing buildings with flat roof profiles. Much of Manhattan’s walkup building stock could easily be retrofitted with the Toyota tiles (see image to the left for one of the tiles and below for a hastily pulled shot of an Upper West Side balcony that could easily lay them down).
At $43 per tile, and approximately $27 per square foot, excluding installation costs, it would be possible to cover a 100 square foot space at a little over $1500. Green roofs on brownstones or walkups would both provide buildings with a natural cooling effect and increased thermal insulation. I don’t think we’re that far away from seeing owners realize that they stand to gain a variety of financial benefits from retrofitting their roofs with such systems, particularly if they’re as cost-effective as the Toyota tiles.
- Green Roof Tiles by Toyota Roof Garden (inhabitat.com)
- Green Roofs Made Easy (The Green Geek)
- Instant Grass Roof Possible with Turf Tiles (LiveScience.com)
- Roof Garden Businesses (toyota.com)