A higher ground: Lush lawn planted atop Windsor Terrace library

Power plant: Brooklyn Public Library completed work on the Windsor Terrace branch’s living roof last week, which uses the power of plants to cut down on utility bills and help clean the air.
Photo by Erin Lefevre

It’s sprouting in the sky!

The Brooklyn Public Library finished laying down a “living roof” atop the Windsor Terrace branch on Sept. 5 with flourishing foliage that will reduce the book lender’s utility bills and provide refuge for local wildlife, according to the institution’s head honcho.

“Brooklyn Public Library is proud to have answered the community’s call for a roof that reduces carbon emissions, improves insulation, and provides habitat for Brooklyn’s birds and bees,” said library president Linda Johnson.

The roof is planted with perennial ground covers and ornamental grasses, including witch hazel, sedum, butterfly weed, and Carolina rose, which will suck carbon dioxide from the air while a layer of soil beneath them cools the branch in the summer and insulates it in the winter.

The new lawn will also absorb rain water that would otherwise cause flooding in heavy storms, and should eventually provide a home for birds, bees, and other Kings-County critters looking to nest.

Taxpayers kicked in $250,000 for the book lender’s fancy new top, which is not open to patrons. And it unfortunately sounds cooler than it looks, because readers standing at street level won’t see any shrubbery protruding from the library — now, or ever — according to a spokeswoman.

“It’s probably not to the point you’ll see it,” said Fritzi Bodenheimer. “There aren’t trees. Obviously that would be bad for the roof.”

And the elevated green space won’t create any new jobs, she said, because it is more or less self-tending.

“The whole point of it is that it maintains itself,” Bodenheimer said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Not seeing green: Unfortunately, Brooklyn Public Library’s new green roof sounds cooler than it looks, and readers won’t notice much of a difference from street level.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

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