Green Roofs

Green Roofs and Urban Design

I remain skeptical about all the hype around green roofs and green walls. This is not to say that when delivered comprehensively, that green roofs can be very effective in reducing temperatures of the buildings. It is more that so many of the current crop of green roofs and green walls are token add-ons.

Despite the hype by the building companies and their contractors about how wonderful particular green walls and roofs are, many are superficial and deliver very limited benefit, if any. When done properly, a green roof can be a contributor to the green infrastructure of urban areas.

Use google maps, or others, to look at areas where new buildings are being established in Australia, and you will be lucky to find many comprehensive use of green roofs. There would be different result if you were looking at some areas in cities such as Chicago. But even there green roofs are not exactly prolific.

We have in Sydney a much hyped recent property development, Central Park. They have attached a system of green walls decorations to the front parts of the building front facades on the main street. These are very decorative and I suggest will not be doing much for the temperature of the building, especially as the majority of the glass remains exposed to western sun and once off the main street, the building has no greenery, walled or otherwise – just the usual glass. In fact take away the decorative greenery on the front, and this set of buildings are just another glass and steel inefficient towers on the Sydney landscape.

There’s an article on The Conversation promotion the benefits of green roofs. The examples given are more likely to be good case studies for successful green roofs. The article is actually a promotional piece for a new guide put out by the Australia green roof advocacy body. – click here.

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