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While urban expansion continues to absorb the habitats of our fascinating wildlife, it’s no surprise that green roof systems are growing rapidly in popularity. Whether it be on existing office buildings, schools, or new architecture, green roofs provide fresh areas for plants, birds and insects to thrive - with an effective and practical use of space too.

Here, we explore the environmental benefits of installing a green roof system.

1. Reduced urban heat island effect

Are you aware of what the urban heat island effect is? If not, the chances are, you’ve probably experienced it without realising.

What is the urban heat island effect?

As vast amounts of concrete and tar are used to build roads and structures, heat is held for longer. This results in higher temperature city areas when compared to surrounding neighbourhoods with more greenspace and vegetation. In larger cities, the difference can be as much as 5°.

So, how are green roof developments being used to combat this?

The answer is simple, but comes in two parts:

  1. When a green roof is installed, the substrate absorbs a portion of this heat, helping lower the surrounding temperature.
  2. The evaporation of water from plants and soils used in green roof systems help to cool and humidify the air.
green roofs

2. Improved air quality

According to the World Health Organisation, 9 out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants. In fact, air pollution kills a staggering 4.2 million people each year.

Although green roof systems can’t tackle this issue alone, they, alongside other sustainable architecture can certainly make a difference. Let’s explore how.

Plants are known to filter out gaseous containments, which helps reduce atmospheric pollutants - the bigger the plant, the more effective it is.

In an ideal world, we’d plant masses of trees. But when you’re dealing with high-density urban areas, the opportunity to plant trees is limited. Therefore, green roof systems are a fantastic alternative.

urban environment green roofs

3. Storm water management

From causing damage to property through flooding, to spreading bacteria and waste with water runoff, storm water can pose several problems for the environment.

Fortunately, green roof systems can be used to successfully prevent such issues.

By storing and holding back water at roof level, green roofs can be used as a source control mechanism to help prevent both flooding and problems caused by runoff. To put things into perspective, green roofs typically retain 70%-80% of precipitation during the summer.

Green roofs also replicate a natural landscape, allowing water to infiltrate the vegetation, substrates and engineered drainage layers.

Implementing green roof systems globally

As you can tell, we’re huge fans of green roof systems at ANS Global. In fact, we’ve installed over 100 million plants since we began experimenting with green roof systems in 2005. Whether you’d like to discuss the benefits of green roof systems further, or would like to discuss your project requirements with an expert, contact us at ANS Global today.

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The rise of sustainable architecture and its importance around the world