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Marco Sánchez turns his rooftop into a green-roof lab

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Who would want to live underneath a laboratory? Who wouldn’t, if that laboratory was a lush, inviting place to soak up the sun? When Marco Sánchez purchased his home in Mexico City in 2006, he took the opportunity to turn his hot, uninviting rooftop into a green-roof lab—and then turned the knowledge into the basis for his latest company, Azoteas Verdes (Green Roofs). “It was the perfect opportunity to develop technologies and monitor the green roof’s effect,” he says. “Right next door there is an identical house with the same sun exposure and the same wind conditions, so it’s the ideal setup to measure the differences.” Sánchez measures the temperature and humidity levels on both roofs—his with the green roof and the other without. He uses the results to verify what he already knows to be true—that green roofs benefit the environment, in addition to providing comfort to its users.“Mexico City is an important place to install green roofs because of the high pollution levels,” he says. “The foremost reason for respiratory illness is suspended particles in the air—green roofs can catch a lot of the particles and improve air quality.”

Sigrid Tornquist is a freelance author and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. She is also the associate editor of InTents magazine.

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