All rooftops in Utrecht to go green

This article originally featured in The Skylark’s newsletter and was written as a condensed news in brief.

Under news plans drawn up by the Dutch city of Utrecht, every roof in the city will be covered by either plants, moss or solar panels. This also includes the cities 316 bus stops, which have already been overhauled.

The move hopes to reduce the ‘heat island’ effect, when urban areas are significantly hotter than the surrounding rural landscape. The plan should also reduce energy costs. It is assumed that those rooftops at lower levels will be green, while higher ones will have solar panels.

Such a move by a major European city may encourage others to do the same, or go further. In 2016, San Francisco passed a law ensuring that new buildings devoted a portion of their rooftops to solar panels or green roofs. A similar law was brought in by New York City in 2019, including major roof reconstruction under the new requirements.

To top off the move, Utrecht also plans to build a “vertical forest” building, filled with thousands of plants and shrubs on its side that will absorb 5.4metric tonnes of CO2 each year.

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