4 Green Roofs Of Note

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The green roof is an emerging idea that is taking hold in all kinds of contexts, from university campuses, to private homes. How do these green roofs contribute to the lessening of environmental impact? Design enthusiast Jay-Jay Stephens is here to explain, using 4 green roofs located in 4 different regions as examples.


Adding green or ‘living’ roofs to existing buildings or implementing them as part of the initial architectural design of a new project is become ever more prevalent. As cities around the world become more and more populated and polluted there is an increasing need to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.  Many homeowners are now embracing these ideas and London is one such city which has now adopted a green roof policy with other cities in the UK set to follow.

With summers forecast to become hotter in the coming years the ecosystems provided by green roofs can help to reduce heating and cooling costs which can lessen the urban heat island effect. Green roofs act as a natural filter for rain water as well as providing a natural habitat for plants and animals. The lifespan of an existing roof can be increased as green roofs add an additional layer of protection as well as reducing levels of noise, dust and smog.

Below are four excellent examples of how green roofs have been used on a larger scale to improve the long-term sustainability of buildings and will hopefully provide inspiration to homeowners about how green roofs can improve the efficiency of their home.

California Academy of Sciences

Photo:Tim Griffith

This was one of ten projects by the San Francisco Department of Environment aimed at achieving a platinum LEED certification for its sustainability. The roof stretches 2.5 acres and the outer of the building is shaded by a canopy with solar panels.

Sustainability was at the core of this design and the building will consume 30 – 35% less energy than required to gain the LEED certification. As much as 90% of regularly occupied space will receive daylight which will significantly reduce the needs for internal electrical lighting.

Villa Bio

Photo: Inhabitat.com

Situated in Barcelona, Spain this Enric Ruiz-Geli inspired project aims to capture the surrounding landscape by blending into the environment in a far more significant way than other buildings in neighboring area. One of the most striking aspects of the house is the floor to ceiling windows which allow a significant amount of natural light to enter the home. The green roof itself is a hydroponic garden which grows plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water without the use of soil.

Nanyang School of Art

At 215,000-square-foot, this five story building is home to the School of Arts, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The high performance glass façade allows the building to create a wealth of natural light and to maximise solar gain.

The sloping green roof aims to blur the boundaries between the structure and the lush green environment. The nature of the roof helps to cool and regulate both the roof and ambient temperature of the building as well as providing additional insulation and to help harvest rain water.

Marcel Sembat High School

Marcel Sembat High School

Photo: Thomas Jorion

Archi5 together with B. Huidobr created the design for this high school based in Sotteville-les-Rouen, France. Central to the design was the desire to maintain the relationship between the school and the space in which it inhabits which was achieved by extending the greenery from the park to the school. One of the main objectives of the design was to bring more light into the building by using translucent polycarbonate and a glass façade which helped to create pools of light between the sheets of steel.


Thanks Jay-Jay!

Jay-Jay Stephens wrote this post on behalf of Kingfisher Windows who are passionate about improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of homes.



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