For focus week and as an ongoing study theme I have decided to look at green roofs, green building in general and green infrastructure. It’s something I have been interested in for  a while and as far as I am concerned, the more places we can put plants, the better all our lives will be.

I started the week by joining RIBA  and the Landscape Institute. I also registered for Eco Build which is being held at Earle’s Court 2nd-4th March, and looked into visiting the ‘Earth Ship’ built by the low carbon trust in Stanmer near Brighton; Their next tour is on 7th February, which I think I will try to get to.  Here’s their web site for anyone who would like to look into it.

The importance of Green Roofs;

REDUCTION OF THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND;  The Tyndale centre for climate change suggests we need a 10% increase in green space in our cities in order to combat climate change.

WATER; Green roofs significantly reduce the surface run off from rainfall, this reduces the strain on town/city drainage systems and helps to avoid the risk of flooding.

INSULATION; Having a green roof provides extra insulation which in turn reduces the need for (and cost of) heating and air conditioning.

SOUND INSULATION; A combination of soil and plants on the roof can act as a sound barrier, the growing medium absorbs low sound frequencies and plants block higher sound frequencies.

PROTECTION OF WATERPROOFING ; It has been shown that having a green roof can at least double the life of a rooftop waterproof membrane.

AIR QUALITY; Airborne pollutants are filtered from the atmosphere by the vegetation on green roofs

AMENITY SPACE; Green roofs can offer more amenity space for workers and residents in urban areas.

BIO DIVERSITY; This is my favourite reason, so many natural habitats are being destroyed because of  building and intensive agriculture that many invertebrates and insects are struggling to survive, most notably, Bees. Green roofs can provide a refuge for insects and create diverse habitats for them to thrive in.

Carson Valley Home

This is one of my favourite green roofs. The architects are Arkin Tilt of Berkeley California. The house also uses active and passive solar energy. check out their web site for a range of interesting and innovative designs.

Another good website to look at  is; There are some interesting short video clips of green homes.

Typical green roof section

Below is a picture of the new green roof on the California Academy of Science, in Golden Gate Park. It was designed by Renzo Piano and I have included a link as there are some more pictures and a short video worth watching.

Green Roof on the California academy of Science. Golden Gate park.

School of Art Design and Media in Singapore

I found this amazing picture on It shows the green roof on the 5 story Art and Design building. The roof creates additional gathering and recreational space while cooling the building and collecting rainwater for landscape irrigation.



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