Comfort station

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A green roof atop a public restroom in London. And what’s that in the background? Could this be right beside Westminster Palace?

On a recent trip to London we spotted this gorgeous public restroom in Victoria Tower Gardens, right along the Thames and just south of the houses of Parliament. The green roof is planted with drought-loving perennials and grasses (many native to North America; since Britain has such a rainy climate, there are most likely few native plants that would do well in the harsh conditions of a green roof).

A green roof is a roof that is planted with vegetation (over a waterproof barrier). The plants, chosen for their ability to withstand extremes of temperature and rainfall,  insulate the building, stop stormwater runoff, and moderate surrounding temperatures. You can see a great green roof, planted entirely with native prairie plants, at the visitors’ center at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Because of their environmental and aesthetic value, green roofs are sprouting up in big cities throughout Europe and North America. This one was a pleasant surprise to us.

See this post for another urban environmental enhancement–one much closer to home.

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