When Kathy Sloan moved into a home in the foothills of Mount Tamalpais, she had just one vision for the steep, bare 2 acres before her: Restore nature so she could live in nature. And that meant a green roof. Planted roofs are not only a decorative arrangement of dirt and plants. They provide insulation, improve air quality, soak up water runoff and restore wildlife habitats. While green roofs may seem a recent trend, the concept of embellishing shelter with dirt and plants goes as far back as the sixth century. As legend has it, King Nebuchadnezzar built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon for his wife, Amytis, who longed for the terrain of her childhood home — a verdant, mountainous region of Persia. Though modern-day archaeology has never unearthed any evidence of these gardens (the only documentation of them is from ancient texts dated several hundred years later), there are plenty of modern-day interpretations of that mythical Eden. In San Francisco, there is the Living Roof at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, which has seven hills rooted with 1.7 million plants; and the Beaux Arts building at 50 United Nations Plaza, which has 14,000 square feet… Read full this story
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