News Release

Green roofs offer energy savings, storm-water control

Innovative structures also provide havens for wildlife

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Institute of Biological Sciences

An article in the November 2007 issue of BioScience describes the history and summarizes the benefits and challenges of green roofs—roofs with a vegetated surface and substrate.

Although more expensive to construct than a typical roof, a green roof can reduce energy costs during a building’s lifetime and control storm-water runoff. Green roofs also provide havens for wildlife. Such structures are currently less common in the United States than in Japan and some European countries, notably Germany, and proponents urge their more widespread adoption.

The authors of the article, Erica Oberndorfer and her colleagues, argue for further research into the functioning of green roof ecosystems and into which plant species are most beneficial to include in roof plantings. The researchers note that the development of improved cost-benefit models for green roofs could spur the more widespread adoption of the technology.

A photograph of the dramatic, almost-complete green roof on the new California Academy of Sciences building in San Francisco appears on the cover of issue.


BioScience is the monthly journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). BioScience publishes commentary and peer-reviewed articles covering a wide range of biological fields, with a focus on "Organisms from Molecules to the Environment." The journal has been published since 1964. AIBS is an umbrella organization for professional scientific societies and organizations that are involved with biology. It represents some 200 member societies and organizations with a combined membership of about 250,000.

The complete list of research articles in the November 2007 issue of BioScience is as follows:

Green Roofs as Urban Ecosystems: Ecological Structures, Functions, and Services.
Erica Oberndorfer, Jeremy Lundholm, Brad Bass, Reid R. Coffman, Hitesh Doshi, Nigel Dunnett, Stuart Gaffin, Manfred Köhler, Karen K. Y. Liu, and Bradley Rowe

Sperm Delivery in Flowering Plants: The Control of Pollen Tube Growth.
Kathleen L. Wilsen and Peter K. Hepler

The Ecological Significance of the Herbaceous Layer in Temperate Forest Ecosystems.
Frank S. Gilliam

Soil Sensor Technology: Life within a Pixel.
Michael F. Allen, Rodrigo Vargas, Eric Graham, William Swenson, Michael Hamilton, Michael Taggart, Thomas C. Harmon, Alexander Rat’ko, Phil Rundel, Brian Fulkerson, and Deborah Estrin

Global Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
Will R. Turner, Katrina Brandon, Thomas M. Brooks, Robert Costanza, Gustavo A. B. da Fonseca, and Rosimeiry Portela

Natural History Museum Visitors’ Understanding of Evolution.
Bruce J. MacFadden, Betty A.Dunkel, Shari Ellis, Lynn D. Dierking, Linda Abraham-Silver, Jim Kisiel, and Judy Koke

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