Colour us jaded, but 'green roof' has become a bit of a buzzword (phrase) of late, but there's more to green roofs than marketing hype, we promise - there are numerous benefits of green roofs, here are just a few:
Reduce your energy consumption
If you've been unlucky enough to have to go into a roof space on a hot day, you'll know just how extreme the temperatures can get up there. So one of the big benefits of a green roof is to provide a thick layer of insulation for your home or office. It works both ways, helping to shade and protect the building from the heat of the summer sun, but also creating a buffer for the cold as well. This all adds up to some hefty savings on your energy bills as you won't need to run the AC or heating as much to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
Reduced stormwater runoff
Permeable or porous paving combined with garden beds help to capture, slow and filter stormwater so it can be put to better use than pouring into our watercourses.
Have you noticed the Yarra turns an even murkier shade of brown and bayside beaches are forced to close because of water pollution concerns after heavy downpours? That's because our stormwater infrastructure collects and funnels all of the runoff from roads, houses and other buildings straight into the river and bay - at high speed! The huge amount of water pouring off all our roofs and concrete surfaces washes rubbish along with it and even causes flash floods in some areas. Green roofs help to slow or stop stormwater runoff, with the plants absorbing the moisture to sustain themselves. Some green roof designs, like our very own Growing Up collect rainwater to use later for irrigating the garden. Similarly, our Phoenix Rooftop project helps to slow and filter stormwater by using porous paving made from river pebbles. This all helps to reduce the stormwater runoff our cities need to deal with, and helps to keep our waterways cleaner.
Usable green space for people
There's a lot of grey concrete in our cities, that's why every piece of green space is so valuable. We aim to make usable green roofs that people can enjoy for relaxation and entertaining - a green oasis in the city. So even if you live in a dense urban area, it's still possible to have access to rich natural greenery. For office buildings too, a green roof can provide a great refuge for workers to enjoy. With all the studies showing the benefits of green spaces for workplaces, improving both employee satisfaction and productivity, green roofs for offices prove a valuable investment.
Improved health and liveability of our cities
As we know, plants are powerful air purifiers and oxygenators, so the more greenery in our cities, the cleaner our air. That's why green roofs are so important to the health of us and our cities. In addition to cleaning the air and providing more oxygen, green roofs have also been shown to reduce the urban heat island effect and increase resilience to the effects of climate change. Green roofs will therefore play an important part in improving the health and liveability of our cities into the future. By helping to keep our buildings cooler, green roofs can also help to improve human health and well-being during extreme weather events.
Improve biodiversity and foster local ecosystems
Our urban growth and use of pesticides is wreaking havoc on the bee and insect population which, in turn, means plants aren't being pollinated, bird populations have trouble finding food and the whole ecosystem is thrown out of whack. Green roofs help to restore this important ecosystem, creating a habitat for bees and insects and providing foraging materials for nesting birds. The more green roofs there are in our towns and cities, the larger the network of green space becomes and the larger the impact we can have on local biodiversity.
Possibility for rooftop farming
Are you a pro at Farmville? Or perhaps you've always pictured yourself retiring to a small acreage, raising some sheep and growing a few crops? Well, a green roof is probably not the best place for a herd of sheep, but it can be the perfect place to grow veggies for yourself. Green roofs typically have greater access to sunlight and can add up to a significant slice of toilable land. Both the Growing Up green roof and the Phoenix Rooftop include a selection of edible plants. The ground floor cafe at 131 Queen Street utilise the productive productive garden at the Growing Up rooftop for many of their menu items. The owner of Phoenix Rooftop has even been honing his green thumb, producing some plump homegrown tomatoes with great success! So whether you're interested in reducing your carbon footprint by growing your own food, minimising your exposure to toxins by eating organic, or just enjoying the joys (and richer flavours) of home-grown food, a green roof is the perfect place to do it.
Just some of the benefits of green roofs
There are numerous benefits of green roofs - social, cultural and environmental.
These, of course, are just some of the benefits of green roofs and just some of the reasons why we're so passionate about green walls and green roofs here at Bent Architecture. If we can help to bring some of these benefits to our cities, we consider that a job well done.