How Green Roofs can help with Climate Change

Green Roofs are a key element for climate change mitigation.

To really reduce the impact of climate change, green roofs would need to be adopted on a larger scale. This is where a legislation, like the one now in place in France, and in our previous blog post, to put green roofs on new buildings, would make a huge impact on reducing the impact on climate change.

Here we will explain how our GrufeKit green roofs can contribute to reducing the impact on climate change.

1. Reduced Urban Heat Island Effect

You may not be aware of what the 'urban heat island effect' really is, but it is likely that you have experienced it without realising.

What is the urban heat island effect? In urban areas, built up with vast amount of concrete and tar, used for roads and structures, the heat is held in for longer. This results in a higher temperature in cities compared to surrounding neighbourhoods and more rural areas, with more greenspace and vegetation. The difference can be as much as 5C.

Climate change will likely lead to more frequent, and longer heat waves during the summer months, which is what we have already started to experience this year.

Green roofs can help reduce this urban heat island effect as the substrate in the GrufeTiles absorb a portion of this heat, helping to reduce the surrounding temperature.

Additionally, the plants and soils used in green roof systems help to cool and humidify the air from the evaporation of water.

Adding green roofs to your home, especially if you live in a city, will help reduce this effect and can also bring a bit of tranquillity to the city.

2. Temperature Regulation

The effect green roofs have on temperature regulation leads on from how we can reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect.

In addition to reducing the heat in urban areas, green roofs can help reduce the heat during the hot summer months in all areas! Our GrufeKit green roof systems retain rainwater, creating a cooling effect, where the plants absorb the sun’s rays and keep your home or building cooler. This is known as ‘evapotranspiration’, which is the process in which water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation from the soil, surfaces and by the transpiration from plants.

As well as keeping your home cooler in the summer, a green roof can also keep it warmer in the winter!

In the winter the plants keep your home or the building warmer by preventing snow and ice building up on the waterproof membrane. Green roofs are a perfect method of insulation for your home, meaning it can help reduce the amount of energy you use heating up your home – something we would all appreciate with the increase in energy prices!

3. Improved Air Quality

According to the World Health Organisation, almost all of the global population breathe air that exceeds their guideline limits and air that contains high levels of pollutants.

Although green roof systems can’t tackle this issue alone, they can certainly start to make a difference.

Lack of plants, particularly in urban areas, lead to a concentration in polluted air. Due to high property values and limited space in cities, there is also limited space available for plants and green spaces.

Green roofs make a perfect solution! Roofs are often wasted spaces and often ignored. This is why they make a great place to add some greenery and to help purify the air by absorbing polluting particles.

Although changing just one roof to a green roof may have limited impact, if it becomes widely accepted and built into legislation, the impact could be huge on the environment and our air quality.

4. Flood Prevention

Green roofs are a type of natural flood management. In urban areas, roofs make up large areas of hard standing, making the runoff of rain huge.

Having plants on a green roof means that the soil section, beneath the plants, will soak up a significant amount of water. Therefore, reducing the amount of water that will run off a building, causing flooding.

The saturated soil will slowly release the water off the roof, slowing down the process and reducing the risk of a flash flood. A green roof can retain around 75% of the runoff in the summer!

Again, although a green roof alone would not prevent this and reduce the impact on climate change alone, but as part of a wider rainwater management scheme, they can be a really useful contribution.

5. Reduced Carbon Footprint

Lastly, green roofs can help reduce your carbon footprint, and subsequently help tackle climate change.

Green roofs can do this in two ways: by photosynthesis and by the reduction in energy use.

The plants on your green roof photosynthesise as they take in sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide.

As mentioned in other points above, a green roof can help regulate temperature and reduce the urban heat island effect. This can ultimately reduce the amount of energy you use, such as heating or air conditioning.

If you have any further questions about our Grufekit range and how it can be beneficial to the environment, you can contact us here. Or if you would like to browse our GrufeKit range, you can click here.