The rooftop is getting its rightful place under the sun with many building owners and developers increasingly adopting the green roof trend.
Green roofs are connecting people living in urban environments with nature and the great outdoors. According to Junglefy, with the technical advancements in living infrastructure, no rooftop is safe from going green.
Rooftops provide the perfect space for plants and ‘junglefication’ with green roofs seen as a workable solution for addressing issues related to high-density living in urban areas.
Being natural air cleaners, plant have the incredible ability to filter particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, creating a cleaner, healthier and more breathable air for everyone. The Growing Green Guide, a recent publication developed by industry experts, stated that “as urban populations continue to grow… it is projected that the concentration of pollutants such as ozone and fine particulate matter will also rise”.
Reducing the Urban Heat Island Effect
‘Urban heat islands’ are areas that are uncharacteristically warm due to the heat generated and retained by the surrounding infrastructure and industry. Caused by rapid population growth and urban development, the urban heat island effect can be mitigated with ‘greened’ rooftops filled with plants that can create advantageous microclimates to benefit the health and wellbeing of locals.
Enhancing the aesthetic of a previously unused space
In addition to these functional benefits, green roofs also have an aesthetic side with their ability to convert previously unused rooftop spaces into comfortable, inviting areas filled with foliage. Fully-accessible rooftops, many of which are located in highly populated areas, can become a relaxing little green oasis in the middle of the fast-paced hustle and bustle of the busy city.
Green roofs also go beyond the obvious benefits of delivering fresh air and aesthetic spaces by facilitating urban farming and food production, improving the thermal performance of the building, and creating a natural sound barrier, which is particularly significant for rooftop bars and pubs, located in highly residential areas.
Recent examples of rooftop gardens in Australia include Brisbane’s new Lady Cilento Hospital, Prince Alfred Park Pool Green Roof and the Burnley Living Roofs at Melbourne University. Traditionally, green roofs have been largely inaccessible to the general public with people missing out on the wonderful health benefits provided by plants.
However, advances in waterproofing and irrigation technology have helped increase the longevity and durability of green roofs, leading to the recent surge in public rooftop gardens and green walls being installed in rooftop spaces such as bars and restaurants, which are accessible to those living in the increasingly urbanised cities.