I've long enjoyed climbing on roofs. I don't like the edges and ladders are not loads of fun but I am drawn to the roof anyhow. You can see a lot, of course. More sky usually and you are also invisible to a great number of people walking by who do not look up. Which is interesting. To me at least.
I've wanted to make roofs
more useful for a long time. Maybe I am insufficiently grateful for
protection from rain and the containment of warmth. But for as long as I
can remember, it seemed to me that they could do more. For a while, I
wondered if we might not productively require greenhouse space or water
collection to reduce the waste of space that roofs represent. Solar
is another solution but there are some very inexpensive things like water
collection and skylights that can contribute to the building's utility
in lasting ways. The cool roof,
for instance, involves picking roofing materials with an eye toward its
reflectivity across various spectra and their ability to re-emit energy
back to the sky. Small differences in material choices, often with no
associated cost penalty, can make a big difference in the optical and
thermal performance of the material and thus the building. These are the low hanging fruit.
Solar systems are much more expensive but they can earn rather than just save.