Researchers attribute the first examples of green roofs to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. However, there is no evidence of its exact location and very little literature on the structure, the most accepted theory is that King Nebuchadnezzar II built a series of high and ascending terraces with various species as a gift to his wife, who missed the forests and mountains of Persia, her homeland.
According to Wolf Schneider, the gardens were supported by brick vaults, and beneath them were rooms shaded and cooled by the artificial irrigation of the gardens, with a much milder temperature than outside on the plains of Mesopotamia.
Since then, examples of green roofs have appeared all over the world, from Rome to Scandinavia, in the most diverse climates and types.
However, today the insertion of plants in the roofs is still viewed with suspicion by many, as it is thought to be expensive and difficult to maintain.
Others, on the other hand, argue that the high implementation costs are quickly offset by the savings in air conditioning and, above all, that occupying the fifth façade of the building with vegetation is, above all, a rational solution and can really help. to climate change.
Green roofs with plants, grass and even a combination of mixed landscaping with solar panels
It is interesting, whenever possible, to include technicians and suppliers from the design process, so that they can advise on the specifications of thermal performance, drainage, loading and other factors.
There are prefabricated modular systems, for example, that already include all layers and even prepared plants. Due to the significant increase in weight, the supporting structure of the building must be calculated for this, which will result in more robust structural parts.
In the case of a remodeling project, the additional load must be studied to avoid structural problems. Another thing to keep in mind is access to the deck for maintenance. Any green roof will require routine cleaning and inspection of the parts to prevent future problems.
More advantages than disadvantages
When properly constructed, designed and maintained, green roofs are very advantageous. For the occupants of the building below, the vegetation reflects most of the direct sunlight instead of absorbing it and the moisture present in the vegetation and the substrate prevents the heat gain of the structure, which saves energy for cooling.
Temperature regulators and energy savings
But the benefits are not just private. Especially in large, dense cities, creating green roofs can alleviate some serious problems. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the use of green roofs in cities or other areas built with little vegetation can moderate the heat island effect, especially during the day. Green roof temperatures are 16 to 22 ° C lower than conventional roof temperatures and can reduce the city’s ambient temperature by 2.7 ° C. In other words, they are very effective devices for reducing urban heat islands.
A key point in creating a more balanced environment
Two other interesting potentials of green roofs are the possibility of creating spaces for urban agriculture and, above all, a new habitat for beneficial plants and animals in urban areas, which contributes to increasing biodiversity. Birds, bees and other insects find more space to live, improving the ecological balance in places as harsh as cities.
Understanding the local climate and vegetation, along with the environmental constraints to planting the garden, is vital to your success.
All these sustainable proposals are extremely beneficial for the private and public spheres.
Also, from TerraSolari we join forces to slow down climate change, and we invite you to be part of the energy self-consumption revolution.