In our previous blog “What is a green roof and where can you use them?” we gave an overview of green roofs, their benefits, potential drawbacks and how they can be installed into properties.
Building on that blog, we will discuss the future potential of green roofs and why they will become the key to greener cities in the future. Growing concerns surrounding climate change and carbon emissions continue to escalate which has forced governments worldwide into action to prevent future environmental disaster. Therefore, it is crucial to discuss green roofs and the important role they will play in mitigating carbon emissions in our cities.
Current global climate concerns and green roofs
In 2015 the Paris climate agreement was signed by countries worldwide pledging to a long-term goal of keeping the mean global temperature below pre-industrial levels of 2°c. This would ensure a major shift in global behaviour to achieve this goal, with research from the United Nations showing temperatures may increase by as much as 4.4°c by the end of the 21st century if no action is taken to curtail the effects of climate change. Consequently, to try and curb their greenhouse gas outputs, countries will have to radically overhaul their foreign and domestic policies to try and meet this aim set at the Paris Climate Accords. This is where green roofs can play a pivotal role in the transition to a greener reality by curbing the effects of greenhouse gases and helping achieve the ambitious goals set.
Currently, the British Government has a 25-year plan to connect more people with the environment through a greater implementation of green infrastructure in towns and cities. Given the flexibility of green roofs and the number of carbon reducing benefits they possess, it is no surprise that green roofs will be at the heart of this plan.
Green roofs and their role in creating a greener city
As highlighted in our previous blog, green roofs provide several benefits which all play their part in significantly reducing carbon emissions. But exactly what role do they have in being the key to a greener city?
Well, green roofs help foster and paint a positive image of cities. They support the vision that a town or city is committed to a sustainable and forward-thinking approach in how they wish to tackle emissions. Green roofs may also provide long-term benefits, for example in attracting individuals and businesses to the area that share a similar mindset for sustainable growth. Cities that do not have this approach may not be looked upon as favourably due to the increasing societal importance that is placed upon climate change, this in turn could potentially have a negative effect on tourism and consequently impact the gross domestic product of a town / city or country. Therefore, it is crucial that governments safeguard the further installation of green spaces within their landscapes, with green roofs being at the heart of this transformation to a greener reality for modern cities.
We have already seen how many cities, especially in North America, have written into law the installation of green roofs to promote a more sustainable outlook within their city’s makeup, this trend could become the norm as the climate change crisis escalates.
Green roofs reducing heat pollution and flash flooding
Green roofs support in reducing the heat roof island effect which contributes to the heating up of the surrounding atmosphere. The different layers of soil within the green roof absorb the heat from the environment rather than the heat being trapped on manufactured structures such as pavements and buildings which is a major factor in the atmosphere heating up. Furthermore, green roofs can be beneficial in countries that are prone to flash flooding, curbing the current effects of global warming due to the dense soils and foliage that the green roof provides. In comparison, normal roofs speed up water flow allowing for flash floods to occur as they do not reduce precipitation drainage. These two points highlight how green roofs tackle climate change directly, both in the short and long term.
Green roofs and their impact on the wider community
Green roofs have been proven to have several benefits for the wider community especially when it comes to enrichening the local habitat. To name a few, green roofs provide a habitat for the ever decreasing insect population and helps to foster a positive eco-system which in turn can make a significant difference in highly congested areas in terms of reducing carbon emissions.
Furthermore, green roofs can help support positive mental health for those in the surrounding area due to how they improve the aesthetics of the surrounding landscape, citizens that have a positive mindset from their outward environment will live more productive and fulfilling lives.
Climate change affecting major cities
The United Kingdom is experiencing record levels of precipitation which consequently has led to flash flooding throughout the Home Nations, in the process destroying communities and impacting businesses. These harmful conditions will only continue to get worse as the effects of climate change continue, this point alone highlights the importance of green roofs and their ability to provide value for cities looking to reduce the impact of climate change. Thankfully, in the United Kingdom green spaces are valued heavily by the public with visits to parks and other green spaces up by 25 percent in 2016 compared to 2010, this ensures that green roofs will indeed have a future role to play, and will no doubt be a welcome sight to the British public as they continue to grow in the future.
Currently in many major cities there is an insufficient amount of space to implement green spaces on the ground, however green roofs provide an innovative solution that can be installed onto any roof with gradients of up to 20°. Installation is made especially easy with ECCOsedum being ergonomically designed to ensure quick and easy installation, as well as removal for maintenance access.
If you are interested in increasing your roofs life span whilst actively reducing the carbon footprint of your home, we are more than happy to put you in touch with our trusted sedum roof growers and installers.