Living Roofs, Green Roofs

The impact of extreme weather conditions on nature and society is profound. As the temperature of the atmosphere increases, its capacity to store moisture increases. This causes larger and more powerful storms, heavy rainfall events and flooding.

But can we design our buildings to mitigate the effects of major weather events? The solution to this interesting-sounding problem is hidden in ideas that bring green to the fore. That’s why we need to develop a smarter, more balanced relationship with water.

The so-called “green roofs” is one such example. While not a new solution, so-called “living roofs” have only begun to become legal requirements in various cities and countries around the world in the last decade, recognized for their ability to mitigate the effects of climate change.

As part of a sustainable drainage system, green roofs can block and store rainwater. They release surface water into the drainage system at a slower rate, while transferring moisture back to the atmosphere by evaporation. Green roof systems also have the potential to filter and improve the quality of water before it enters the drainage system.

In addition to offering environmental benefits, green roofs can also benefit people in cities. They can reduce local air pollutants and increase thermal performance by cooling in the summer, by evaporative transpiration, or by providing better insulation in the winter. This can help reduce energy consumption.

Hotter and drier summers cause overheating, especially in urban areas in the most densely populated areas. Therefore, the green roof can also help tackle other major threats from climate change: the threat to public health from rising temperatures.

Apart from green roofs, there are many design and construction strategies that increase building sustainability and reduce the effects of climate change, from material choices to other social and economic decisions. Overall, a collaborative approach to delivering new developments is required for infrastructure and buildings to deal effectively with climate change.

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