Will Your Next Roof be a “Green Roof”

So what is a “Green Roof” to begin with?

Example of a Green RoofWikipedia defines a green roof as “a roof of a building which is partially or completely covered with plants. It may be a tended roof garden or a more self-maintaining ecology like a living wall or breathing wall. An earth structure often has such a roof, as plants simply grow naturally over it, making a hill that is from some angles indistinguishable from a natural one.”

Green Roofs claim to deliver cost savings as they provide greater material lifespan (up to twice as long) and savings on heating and cooling costs because of the insulation that it provides. Green Roofs also claim to provide sound insulating benefits. (for a full list of personal and public benefits can be read at About Green Roofs)

Green roofs from what I have read today seem to be most common in Europe, are slowly making headway in North America, and green roofs are looking to be a viable option here in Australia. Green roofs are not limited by the climate that you are in, as I initially thought, but they can be built in pretty much any climate using native plant life. This means that even here in Queensland and Townsville there is the possibility of building using a green roof. There is a good article about green roofs in Australia at On Line Opinion – A roofing answer to climate change.

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Condo Conversions in Calgary

There has been a bit of controversy about apartments in Calgary being converted to condos. The controversy comes with the eviction of tenants from lower cost rental units to make way for the conversions. Typically tenants are supposed to be given a 6-month eviction notice for a condo conversion, however some landlords are getting around this with what they are calling Economic Evictions (which I will write more about later).

In a city where there has been virtually zero rental units built for almost a decade these types of conversions from apartments to condos are having a very negative effect on the lower to middle range of the rental market. With a rental vacancy rate around 1% the condo conversions, combined with the lack of affordable housing and new rental units being constructed, is making Calgary a very inhospitable place for lower income singles and families.

Although Townsville is not experiencing anything like this at the moment, I wonder if there are similar things happening in larger Australian cities where the market for condos and apartments is tighter?