When discussing building insulation the first image evoked is not a visually attractive one. The sustainable trend of “Green Roofing” is taking the mundane and unattractive insulators to new green conscious levels. From necessity to design piece.
Glasswool, Rockwool and polyester are just some of the material insulators on the market today. Visually displeasing, these insulators are boarded up in walls and ceilings. Making a huge impact on cities world wide, Green Roofs offer sustainable insulation for buildings and a visually pleasing design aspect, among many other positive aspects of this new green building development.
A Green Roof is, in its most basic form, a vegetated rooftop. The application of this process can be seen in green retrofits as well completely new buildings in most major cities. Rooftop nurseries have seen a huge bout of popularity globally and have been actively growing in New York since 2009. In that year alone there was a 33% upsurge in green roofing in the metropolis.
Used on buildings, apartments and houses, Green Roofing in New York has proven to not only offer insulation from the intense summer heat, but also reduced storm water run offs and C02 emissions.
This idea is also seen in Toronto Canada. It has been mandated by law that all apartment buildings, government housing, schools, industrial and commercial buildings must have up to 60% of green roofing in an attempt to make the city more carbon neutral.
Not surprisingly, Green Roofing is seeing a huge increase in Australian buildings. Not only is this option promoting garden living it is in effect fighting climate change.
By insulating buildings using natural plants and resources, money and energy is saved through heating and cooling cuts. This is however not the most surprising aspect of the initiative.
Evidence has been found by Britain’s BBC News that living in the vicinity of Green Roofs or a ‘green space’ can improve people’s health. The study confirmed that 15 out of 24 major physical illnesses were significantly lower in people that lived surrounded by green spaces.
In a case study by VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam 35,000 patients in the Netherlands had their health records studied. Although overall health benefits were seen, (with links especially to easing in physical disease) the benefits for mental health patients were especially positive. 24 in 1000 people tested in green areas were depressed, as opposed to 32 in 1000 in built up areas, with children 21% less likely to develop depression than those in built up areas without greenery.
Due to the above reasons, this initiative has shown to be exceedingly popular in Australia, with Melbourne’s first Green Roof opened July 15th 2010 at 131 Queen St by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle.
Mr. Doyle said the project could only promote a better lifestyle for Melbournians.
“This project will capture the imagination of Melbournians, proving that nature can coexist with the built environment” said Mr. Doyle,
“This green roof is a practical example of the benefits of environmental sustainability and gives the owners, tenants and visitors to 131 Queen Street a whole new space in which to meet”.
An online case study by Geoff Wilson for Green Roofs Australia showed that by implementing Green Roofs to all of Australia’s over 5 million household rooftops 550,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide could be saved.
In a green conscious country, such estimates are not being ignored. With the first of many Green Roofs being applied around Australia this trend is leading the way for sustainable construction nation wide.