Green roof is any form of construction – normally located at the top of a building (roof, terraced roof, deck or terrace) – covered with plants, trees, shrubs or vegetation using technological means. Such gardens are becoming more and more widespread, and countries such as Germany and Japan are promoting their construction. Switzerland already boasts green rooftop terraces in ten per cent of its buildings. In Latin America too, construction is incentivised by national and local proposals.
Green roofs provide important benefits to cities committed to sustainable urban development, all thanks to their indisputable aesthetic attraction, social and economic benefits for the local surroundings, and environmental contributions. The construction of green rooftop terraces also allows unused urban surfaces to become places that help the environment and improve energy efficiency.
Environmental advantages of green roofs
Green roofs terraces are presented as the best tool for balancing the contaminating effects of buildings in our cities. The construction sector is one of the biggest pollutants, consuming more natural resources than industry or transport. According to the World Green Building Council, it is estimated that buildings globally consume 17 per cent of drinking water, 25 per cent of wood and between 30 and 40 per cent of energy. More than 30 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions and 40 per cent of solid waste also come from building construction. It is therefore necessary to establish a balance that will allow resource consumption caused by buildings to give back to the environment. Green rooftop terraces are the most suitable alternative for achieving this aim.
Benefits of green roofs
- Less electrical consumption by inhabitants, as they form a natural thermal barrier that saves up to 60 per cent in air conditioning and heating.
- They naturally insulate against noise pollution.
- They consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen. One square metre of green rooftop terrace generates the oxygen necessary for one person in one year.
- They filter heavy metals and reduce warming in cities.
- They reduce the cost of purifying waste water.
- They protect building integrity, helping them last longer
- They boost habitats for indigenous fauna.
- They are an effective tool for raising awareness amongst our youngest citizens about the importance of looking after the environment.
- Revaluation of the buildings that accommodate them
At Paisajismo Urbano we try to raise awareness of the importance of green roofs in our cities: it is simply part of our philosophy. This is why we strive to spread the word of our work every day and demonstrate the best way of building green rooftop terraces in our vertical ecosystems course, thus shaping a global network of vertical ecosystems builders.