Urban Landscaping: Green Roofs

Urban Landscaping: Green Roofs


Green roof is a contemporary concept that looks to bring back some natural environment the modern concrete jungles. With extensive urbanisation a lot of the forest covers and natural life has been driven out of the modern cities. With growing global warming and pollution concerns, there is a growing intent to bring back some degree of greenery back into the urban areas. Green roofs or urban high rises built with gardens on the terrace are gaining a lot of traction because of this.

What is a Green Roof?

A Green roof as the name suggests is a roof with a lot of greenery. Many modern cities around the world are look at green roofs as a way to improve the quality of the air and improve the overall living standards there. Typically green roof consists of the roofs of tall buildings covered with durable waterproofing material and fittings for irrigation and drainage systems to grow and sustain plants on the roof. Typically, these buildings also have root barriers and other protective structures in place to ensure that the plants on the roof do not affect the stability of the building in any way.

Benefits of Green Roofs

As stated earlier, the green roofs are quite popular in the urban areas and they bring a wide range of benefits to the locality.

1. With the green cover, the green roofs help bring down the temperature in the surrounding region. As more and more buildings in the region adopt green roofs, the overall mean summer temperature of the region can come down too. The green roof insulates the building from the heat and brings down the overall heating and cooling costs to run the building.

2. Green roofs help absorb the carbon dioxide in the air and improve the overall air quality in the region. They help bring down the incidences of air pollution related diseases too.

3. The green roofs also use an extensive drainage system that can filter out heavy metals that get mixed with the rains in the urban region due to the pollution.

4. They also help protect the building from harmful UV rays and increase the longevity of such structures.

5. Buildings with green roofs are being preferred over traditional high rises so they also help increase the desirability of the region.

6. Some of the governments are encouraging green roofs by giving tax breaks and incentives adding to the financial benefits of green roofs.

Despite the numerous benefits, the green roof concept has become very popular. The main reason for this is the additional weight that the green roof adds to the structure. It is not easy to transform the terrace on old buildings into green roofs as these buildings may not be designed to handle this additional weight on the top. Many new buildings however are adopting this concept more openly. Although building structures to support the green roof require more money, they are being preferred and in some cases mandated by local government.

The green roof is not a new concept, it has been in existence for over a decade, and however, it is only recently that cities and countries are seeing it as an economically viable option. Australia, Canada, France, Germany, UK and USA are some of the nations in the fore front of embracing this green alternative to urban living.