Green Roof in Mérida

As I await new designs from the architects and ride out the days of coronavirus, my mind wanders.

One of the things it wanders to is green roofs. I know that Mérida suffers from the heat-island effect. Most cities do, but Mérida is especially vulnerable just because it's already so hot there. Maybe other reasons too, but I'm not going to blather about that.

If you don't know what the heat-island effect is I won't go too in depth explaining it because there are resources on the internet that can do a better job. The simplest explanation, it's when trees and greenery that can soak up or block the heat from the sun are taken away and replaced with concrete and blacktop which heats up in the sun and radiates that heat back out. Causing areas (usually cities) to be hotter than the surrounding countryside.

Our lot right now is all trees and grass. Like a mini-park walled up in the city. It worries me to build a house which would be tearing up that grass and replacing it with more concrete.

Our hope is to not have to remove any trees, so we should be good there. Any trees that do have to be taken down (and there are a few that simply don't look healthy) will be replaced.

But that still leaves the roof. Look at Mérida from a satellite image and you see sprawling white concrete roofs. Back out a ways and you see a concrete island in the middle of a swath of green.

Some of our roof I would like to have solar panels, of course. If we could run panels and have a good battery system in place to take care of nearly all of our energy needs, that would be amazing.

But the entire roof won't be solar panels, I don't assume. So what about all that extra bare concrete?

Well, that's where I hope a green roof can come in. It will probably require a little extra engineering to make sure it can handle the weight of plants, dirt and the rainwater they will soak up. But it will provide the benefit of insulating the house from the hot sun, prevent a lot of rapid runoff in the rainy season and just generally be good for the environment.

If this is possible to do on our house, and maybe it isn't and I'm just pie-in-the-sky daydreaming here, it won't fix Mérida's heat island problem. We're just a tiny speck in the city. But, hopefully, this way we won't be adding to the problem.

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