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In the wake of the upcoming “COP 21 Sustainable Innovation Forum 2015” to be held in Paris, France, the French legislature passed a law requiring new commercial buildings to be “partly covered with solar panels or rooftop gardens” at a minimum. Cities adopting a similar approach have taken this a step further through the application of “greenroofs” or “green roofs,” also called “living roofs” or “vegetative roofs.”
Although there is still some debate on whether or not rooftop container gardens are genuine green roofs, green roofs offer several advantages. These are considered a paramount ingredient of new healthy cities actively dealing with the challenges posed by global warming.
Aside from the obvious aesthetic benefits of green roofs, they also provide alternative sanctuaries for birds, improve air quality, promote general well-being and energy conservation vis-à-vis improved thermal insulation and building cooling. They also affect noise and sound reduction as green roofs “have excellent noise attenuation, especially for low frequency sounds” (Peck et al. 1999). Green roofs also work as a means to reduce waste since they help prolong the life of the roof by as much as 60 years, and act as a fire retardant for the entire building. A lot of the materials used in green roofs are sourced from recycled materials such as those used for membranes and growing mediums. Precious rainwater is also well-utilised in green roofs as they make use of advanced irrigation systems meant to reduce water waste.
In the Middle East, the adoption of green roof technology in new buildings is an innovation still waiting to happen even as the region has already begun adopting green building technology. Perhaps someday, as the UAE continues to increase the patches of greenery all over the country, we would see green roofs cropping up on both commercial and residential rooftops instead of barren spaces cluttered here and there with dish antennas.
• Green roofs protect buildings from extreme heat, loud noises
• They help building roofs last longer, even as much as 60 years
• It is hoped that the UAE will embrace this technology in future
Source: Claire Dangalan, Special to Properties