Evaluating Rooftop and Vertical Gardens as an Adaptation Strategy for Urban Areas
Green roof infrastructure has become a multi-million dollar industry in Germanyand is gaining popularity in other European countries as well. Green roof infrastructure is more than just soil and plants on a roof, but consists of specializedmembranes and drainage barriers to support the growing of vegetation on top of buildings. The benefits of this technology were researched and presented in theCanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Report
Greenbacks from Green Roofs
(Peck at el., 1999). Many of the advantages of these technologies, such as thereduction of stormwater runoff, the reduction of cooling loads and the reduction of the urban heat island suggested that this technology could play a role in helpingCanadian cities adapt to climate change. The goal of this research was to assessthese benefits in a Canadian context.The report also investigated the potential of even a newer technology, verticalgardens, essentially moving the vegetation from the roof to the walls, in an urbanenvironment. Vertical gardens could refer to vine-covered walls, but they couldalso include additional infrastructure components to support the growing of vegetation on a wall or as part of a window shade. Both technologies wereassessed using observations and modelling, and both were assessed with regardsto the urban heat island and the reduction of indoor temperatures. The reductionof stormwater runoff was only evaluated for green roof infrastructure.The performance of green roof infrastructure was studied by field monitoring of anexperimental field site, the Field Roofing Facility (FRF), at the National ResearchCouncil (NRC) campus in Ottawa. The FRF consisted of two roof sections, a greenroof and a modified bituminous roof that is representative of what is typically foundon flat roofs in Canadian cities. The two roof sections were identical in principalcomponents and differ only in the green roof components. The roofs wereinstrumented to measure temperature profile, heat flow, solar radiation andstormwater runoff. The observations were also used to comment upon membranedurability. The thermal performance was also simulated with Visual DOE and ahydrology model was constructed to simulate stormwater retention.The vertical gardens were tested on the roof of the Earth Science Building at theUniversity of Toronto. The test consisted of comparing the surface temperature of the garden with the surface temperature of a vertical wall and comparing shadedwith unshaded temperatures. The thermal performance of the garden was alsotested using Visual DOE. AutoCad and LightScape were used to illustrate howone prototype might be adapted to a real building.
CCAF Report B1046