There’s nothing more effective and ecologically sensible than covering the unused spaces of today’s urban structures with living, breathing green roofs. From simple homes to towering buildings, green roofs are more than just aesthetically pleasing — they are becoming a driving force towards eco-living and sustainability.
Urban areas throughout the world are covered with concrete and other materials, which have the highest heat retaining and releasing capabilities. This results in structures having to implement energy consuming cooling and heating systems to combat heat loses and gains. In addition, almost every day, thousands of structures are being built over natural habitats, killing, if not eradicating the natural flora and fauna. Green roofs promote low level energy consuming systems, and there’s nothing better than replacing damaged ecosystems with an alternative environment for vegetation and animals to thrive in. Green roofs also yield oxygen into the air, and help minimize the devastating effects of rampant deforestation occurring in every part of the globe.
Lastly, there’s nothing more pleasing to the senses than having a natural environment as a work place, dwelling or any type of occupancy. Below are a few examples of stunning green roof designs and several inexpensive options that you can incorporate into your own homes.
The grandest green roof designs:
1. Museum. Zaha Hadid designed the Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Park in Seoul Korea, an 850,000 square foot museum, library and educational facility incorporating green roofing in its design. This structure is evidence that innovation doesn’t only equate to steel and glass, but can also embrace natural elements.
2. Art School. Beauty and functionality blends through into the design of the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore by CPG Consultants. It insulates the structure, while collecting rainwater to be used as irrigation for the surrounding landscapes.
3. Residence. Villa Bio, Spain by Enric Ruiz-Geli is an excellent example of sustainable engineering and design. This home boasts modern design, floor-to-ceiling windows and a lush green roof that beautifully blends into its surrounding Mediterranean environment.
4. Science Academy. The California Academy of Sciences, designed by the world renowned architect Renzo Piano includes an absolutely stunning green roof design which blankets the dome sections. This amazing 2.5 acre green roof covers a planetarium, a man-made rain forest and an aquarium below.
5. Public Space. The Millenium Park in Chicago, with an area of 24 acres is considered one of the largest green roofs in the world. The roof covers two parking garages, a transit center and an indoor performance auditorium.
Green roofs do not have to be extravagant, expensive and designed by experts. Here are a few green roof ideas that anyone can implement:
1. Green Roof Blocks. This is a quick and easy green roofing solution that can be availed by any home owner. The Green Roof Blocks are pre-fabricated modules, with high grade anodized aluminum. They are first planted and grown in nurseries, and then shipped and stacked for installation.
2. Green Packs. This simple system is less costly than any other landscaping products. Green Packs are uniquely knitted with a high density polyethylene and come in modules that can be easily installed on the roof surface. With little maintenance, this type of roofing can be breathtaking.
3. Green Roof from Cuttings. This method is another affordable green roof system, but may need irrigation in its initial stage. However, this project is not suitable if you need precise color patterns, because it is unlikely to grow in that manner.
4. Grown from Plugs. Plugs are pre-grown and then installed manually in a layer of soil in the roof. This green roof system is more expensive than cuttings, since the roots tend to thrive rapidly, and require less maintenance. Further, this system is much easier to arrange in specific colors and patterns.
5. Pre-grown from mats. Similar to roof blocks, they are grown and maintained in nurseries prior to installing it on the roof surface. They can be easily arranged in any type of scheme, from sharp to curved angles. This diversity is great for any type of green roof design.
Green roofs are a beacon towards a greener, healthier environment and will hopefully be seen as a standard roofing option in the future, on simple sheds, to the most complex of structures.