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Rooftop gardens in Sunnyvale

We can plant rooftop gardens on some public or private buildings in Sunnyvale.

Photo of Green Ops Homestead
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Written by

Homestead High School Green Ops

How are you connected to Sunnyvale?

  • I visit Sunnyvale regularly.

What type of applicant are you?

  • Team

Stage of Development.

  • Early concept or idea (<few months of work)

What problem are you aiming to solve? (100 words)

Conventional roofs have space that we can use efficiently. They also cause polluted runoff after rain, trap excessive heat, and are damaged fairly easily from UV light and temperature differences.

Tell us more about your climate strategy or solution (500 words)

We would implement community or rooftop gardens to address food production/transportation resource use, cultural eutrophication from fertilizer runoff, inefficient use of space, inefficient insulation, food waste, re-roofing, and a variety of other problems.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (100 words)

Green roofs have a variety of benefits that involve multiple opportunity areas. If we could plant food, we could save money on food production and transportation, as well as reducing pesticides if the food is organic. Fertilizer runoff would also be reduced compared to traditional agriculture because of the raised containers/beds. Green roofs also provide natural insulation that could reduce use of fossil fuels to heat and cool buildings.

Explain how your idea would be implemented in Sunnyvale (700 words)

Depending on what our weather forecast and goals are for the next few years, we could plant food or other native (preferably perennial and/or drought resistant plants) on roofs. We would implement gardens on apartment buildings (which could help bring residents closer together), restaurants (which could attract more customers), or other public buildings such as libraries. Most likely, we would propose the idea to members of the community and see who is interested and willing to pay for a garden.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (250 words)

We would save resources in a variety of ways. Some of these are fossil fuels (less hearing and cooling from better insulation and less transportation), food waste (the FoodCycle bins are a great idea, but we have heard some feedback from Sunnyvale residents who say that they would prefer to compost instead of feeding food scraps to pigs), and space (since we would be utilizing extra space. There are so many more impacts, we are leaving a useful article below.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of people affected. (250 words)

We hope that a variety of people will benefit from rooftop gardens, from bonding as a community by growing plants, eating the food, or providing jobs.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (500 words)

Initially, we would likely have to hire staff for implementing the garden beds, irrigation system, etc. However, maintaining the garden may be a way for children, teens, and families to be more involved in the community. For example, environmental clubs could take turns watering (if necessary), planting, and harvesting the garden. Families could sign up to help as well since kids would most likely be excited to be able to go on a roof (provided that safety precautions are taken).

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (300 words)

We would probably need to pay for some of the initial implementation of the gardens, as well as labor. Hopefully, we would benefit financially in the long run to make this a worthwhile investment.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with our partners?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).

We are a club that promotes environmental awareness and sustainability on the Homestead High School campus and in the community. Throughout the year, we have different initiatives and activities to get the student population involved in the environmental movement. Facebook-

[Optional] Attachments: Please upload relevant attachments or graphics or show us how you came up with your idea.

Two articles that helped us develop our idea

Evaluation results

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1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Jérémie Gluckman-Picard

Hey Green Ops Homestead Great to have this idea live on the platform. Would be curious to learn more about your plans to finance the gardens. Do you know of any existing rooftop gardens in Silicon Valley? How were they funded?

Also check out this Tower Garden- a vertical, aeroponic growing system- 90% less water and space, 30% greater yield and 3x faster model and reach out to Urban Agricultural Internships & Design Program for additional inspiration on `bonding as a community by growing plants, eating the food, or providing jobs.`Excited to see this idea grow in the next few days!