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Denver became the latest city to require rooftop gardens or solar panels on big new buildings, which backers say will keep the outdoor air cooler, make storm water easier to manage and reduce the amount of energy burned by air conditioners.
Hundreds of homeowners are still waiting for repairs nearly eight months after a windstorm tore through the region. While roofing companies, general contractors and insurers work to get people’s homes back to pre-windstorm status, many homes have been in limbo because of insurance disputes or are on long waiting lists, and many owners are frustrated.
John Powers, former mayor of Spokane, lives in a Seattle building with a rooftop garden so massive that residents take walks in it. “We have pine trees on this thing,” Powers says. “We have prairie grass. We have wild and domestic flowers. We have vegetable gardens. It’s a park in the sky.” The irony is not lost on Powers, who served as mayor from 2001 to 2003. He proposed a green roof for Spokane’s City Hall in 2002, long before the concept was trendy. He was mocked for the idea, and City Council opposition put a pitchfork through it.
WORLEY, Idaho – When the wind blows at Circling Raven Golf Course, it rustles through prairie grasses growing on the roof of the Stensgar Pavilion. This bit of man-made habitat is so convincing that a killdeer has moved in. Visitors who climb a ladder to get a better view of the Idaho fescue and blue bunch grass on the roof also see the killdeer faking a broken wing, the bird’s maneuver to lead potential predators from her nest.
Five generations of the Snodgrass family have prospered at Emory Knoll Farms in Harford County, Maryland. Its 365 acres have evolved from a 19th-century dairy operation to a crop farm for most of the 20th. Now Ed Snodgrass runs a 21st-century roofing business – one that is environmentally friendly and has nothing to do with slate, tin or asphalt.
The warm winds that swept the Spokane Valley this week could have been from the collective sigh of relief exhaled by school officials, firefighters and residents tired of the daily struggle battling huge amounts of snow. Most schools were closed until Thursday, though East Valley schools opened two hours late on Wednesday. The schools were closed during the beginning of the week so the roofs straining under the weight of snow made heavier by the rain could be shoveled.
The weight of accumulating snow continued to take its toll on Inland Northwest businesses Friday with a series of roof collapses apparently triggered by 4 to 6 inches of new snow that fell early in the day. Fire officials said they are worried that additional snow this weekend could set off more collapses.
Prompted by reports of roofs collapsing under the weight of snow, many Spokane residents got an elevated look at the landscape Tuesday, as they began clearing their own homes or businesses. They included several neighbors of Trinity Baptist Church, 6528 N. Monroe St., where the gym was destroyed by its collapsing roof before daylight Tuesday.