By Chelsea Ingram

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Some Philadelphians are taking their green thumbs to new heights. They’re seeing limited land space as an opportunity to be environmentally friendly.

You might think of Philadelphia as a concrete jungle with all the parking garages, driveways, roads and highways, but it’s greener than you think. It can be hard to find green space at street level, sometimes you have to go 11 floors up to see it.

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That’s where the CBS3 Green Team met Melissa Muroff, president of the Roof Meadow and designer of Cira Green, one of Philadelphia’s premiere green roofs.

With the launch of Philadelphia’s Green City Clean Waters Management Plan, green roofs or roof meadows have been sprouting since 2012.

“This park keeps about 700,000 gallons of rainwater out of the sewer system each year,” Muroff said.

While these green spaces are beautiful on sunny and warm days, we got to see the green roof system in action as raindrops fell on the flourishing landscape.

“Local sewer and storm water municipalities recognized the value of these systems to hold huge amounts of storm water and keep that storm water out of the sewer systems,” Muroff said. “If you just think about the filth, the oil, the debris that comes off of the city surfaces and add to that whatever you’re flushing down the toilet, that is what’s going directly in the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.”

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Green roofs also help to improve air quality by converting carbon dioxide into air we can breathe. They create habitats for plants, animals, insects and birds, and through the hydrological cycle, they increase energy savings for buildings below.

“The other advantage of spaces like this is they help to keep the air around them cooler,” Muroff added.

This helps Philadelphia battle the urban heat island effect, especially during hot summer months. And not to mention, the view from the city up here is extraordinary.

There are now over 400,000 square feet of roof meadow green roofs across Philadelphia County alone, beautifying the city and making Philadelphia an example for other communities across the country and the world.

Cira Green is located at 30th and Chestnut Streets.

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