Green rooftop gardens encouraged by Brisbane City Council

green rooftop garden

Under proposed changes to Brisbane’s City Plan, developers will be encouraged to include green rooftop gardens and communal spaces on new residential buildings. The amended plan, which was announced by Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, cements council support for more green spaces and communal areas, particularly in apartment projects.

“These changes will allow new developments to include a rooftop communal area, without listing it as an additional storey”, Lord Mayor Quirk said.

“Council will also have the ability to ask developers to incorporate and maintain green spaces on the rooftops and walls of new apartment buildings, to support our vision of a clean, green and sustainable city”, he added.

The policy change has been supported by developers, who will no longer need to cut through red tape to include gardens in apartment projects.

Simon White, design manager of Aria Property Group, said the move “will make it easier for developers to deliver higher quality and more comfortable and useable spaces”. He added that “the roofscape of high-density buildings is a huge opportunity to deliver world-class amenity for residents”.

Under the city’s current rules, any roofed structure on an apartment complex is classified as a “storey” by council. “This means that a 10-storey apartment building with a fixed shade structure over a BBQ area or pool has been defined as 11-storeys under the City Plan”, explained Mia Hickey, principal at planning consultancy Hickey Oatley.

“If the acceptance outcome for the site’s building height is 10 storeys, this has meant that the proposal is non-compliant”, Hickey added. “To avoid this, developers have had to provide rooftops without appropriate shading to protect its residents and visitors from Brisbane’s hot climate.”

green rooftop garden - Brisbane

Brisbane rooftop development including Aria’s Melbourne residences and the Emporium hotel Southbank.

Creating green space was one of the key priorities of the “Plan Your Brisbane” campaign – a ratepayer-funded initiative by council – and Lord Mayor Quirk reinforced its importance when announcing the proposed changes.

“Brisbane is Australia’s most biodiverse capital city, with more species of native plants and wildlife than any other in Australia and new developments that incorporate greenery contribute to our vision of creating a city of urban gardens”, he said.


Source: https://theurbandeveloper.com/articles/developers-encouraged-to-incorporate-green-roofs-as-part-of-planning-changes

Time to take action on green roof policy in Sydney

Sydney urban area

One thing is certain as we look to the year ahead – it’s going to be HOT. In the first week of 2018, Sydney scorched with 40 degree temperatures and nearby Penrith was the hottest place on earth, hitting a searing 47.3 degrees.

As Sydney’s building boom rages on, never before has the need for green infrastructure with an emphasis on sustainable cooling been so important. With more apartment buildings and concrete streetscapes likely to increase the urban heat island effect, these same apartment buildings hold the key to a much-needed cooling innovation.

Architecture and sustainability experts say there is an unprecedented opportunity to harness the ever-expanding rooftop coverage by making green roofs and walls a standard feature on new residential and commercial buildings. Scientific research has repeatedly recognised the insulation benefits of living infrastructure in reducing energy consumption in summer and winter.

However, the lack of proactive policies mean this opportunity is quickly slipping through the fingers of government, councils, and residents alike. In the City of Sydney, the only NSW council that has a specific policy on green roofs and walls, there are just 53 green roofs, which equates to less than 1% of the total available roof space. A waste indeed.

At a policy-level, Sydney lags well behind other, denser cities such as Singapore, London, Stockholm, and Toronto when it comes to promoting the installation of green roofs and walls. Sara Wilkinson, from the UTS school of Built Environment, said about 32% of horizontal surfaces in Sydney are rooftops, but the potential has remained largely untapped. “Greening them really does make a change to heat stress and your urban environment. We are missing an opportunity to create a beautiful garden city.”

Let’s hope we can emulate places like Singapore where the uptake of green roofs has boomed by more than 800% in the past decade, with 80.5 hectares of skyrise greenery across 182 projects. Our environment, wellbeing, and wallets depend on it.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/missed-opportunity-for-green-roofs-as-sydneys-apartment-boom-continues-20180118-h0k8pu.html

Singapore Exceeds Greening Targets Two Decades ahead of Schedule

Singapore exceeds greening targets

Singapore exceeds greening targets two decades ahead of schedule:

Urban greenery in the form of vertical gardens has been widely embraced in Singapore, with the city hitting its greening targets two decades ahead of schedule. Not ones to rest on their laurels, the Government has decided to raise the bar significantly.

As of last year, plants covering building exteriors totalled more than 61ha, an area the size of 195 school fields. This far exceeded the target of 50ha the government had hoped to hit by 2030. The new target is now 200ha of building greenery by the same deadline.

A spokesman from the National Parks Board (NParks) attributed the rapid increase of skyrise greenery to several programmes, including: the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s enhanced Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises (Lush) programme, and NParks’ Skyrise Greenery Incentive Scheme, which offers incentives and subsidies to encourage the installation of skyrise greenery.

The greenery targets were outlined in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint – first in 2009 and again in the latest document released this year. Green roofs, vertical greenery, and gardens in the sky can reduce urban heat gain, which could translate into energy savings, said Mr Tan Seng Chai, group chief corporate officer of CapitaLand and chairman of the CapitaLand Sustainability Steering Committee.

“In land-scarce Singapore… more skyrise greenery can maximise the use of space to bring about many benefits,” said Mr Allen Ang, head of innovation and green building at property developer City Developments.

This new target of 200ha of building greenery by 2030 should lead to many innovative and exciting projects, so stay tuned.

photo credit . wiki

Study finds green roofs improve concentration

green roofs improve concentration

Study finds green roofs improve concentration:

A new study from Melbourne University has found that environmentally-friendly green roofs are not only good for the environment, they also improve employee concentration.

In the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, 150 students were asked to press a key as a series of numbers repeatedly flashed in front of them on a computer screen, unless the number was three. Midway through the task half the group was given a 40-second break during which they looked at a flowering meadow green roof and the others looked at a bare concrete roof. The participants who looked at the green roof made fewer errors and had better concentration in the second half of the task.

Dr Kate Lee, Head Researcher, said, “We know that green roofs are great for the environment, but now we can say that they boost attention too. Imagine the impact that has for thousands of employees working in nearby offices. This study showed us that looking at an image of nature for less than a minute was all it took to help people perform better on our task.”

The study deliberately used a 40-second “micro-break” to mirror the mini breaks which happen spontaneously throughout the day. “It’s something that a lot of us do naturally when we’re stressed or mentally fatigued. There’s a reason you look out the window and seek nature, it can help you concentrate on your work and to maintain performance across the workday.

“This study has implications for workplace well-being and adds extra impetus to continue greening our cities. City planners around the world are switching on to these benefits of green roofs and we hope the future of our cities will be a very green one.”

More and more rooftop gardens are appearing in Melbourne and Sydney, including The City of Melbourne offices on Little Collins Street and the M Central apartment building in Pyrmont, Sydney.

image credit . sookie

Raising The Roof on Urban Landscape Design: Greenroof Future

Citygreen - Raising The Roof on Urban Landscape Design: Greenroof Future

Raising The Roof on Urban Landscape Design: Greenroof Future

As humans, we focus on what we see every day. It stands to reason that much of the discussion of urban canopy and landscape projects and developments take place at ground and subterranean level.

With each passing year for approximately the past 15 years, however, more and more design visionaries and their taskforces are raising their eyes upward…to our rooftops. With the massive amount of square miles taken up by buildings, re-purposing their roofs help us reclaim some of the lost land and create a whole other kind of landscape.

Diana Balmori of Balmori Associates, NY couldn’t agree more. “We need to create a different balance between the inert surfaces and the living surfaces,” Balmori said. With the exception of pockets of urban parks, cities have the sky, the earth, and stories of glass, metal, cement and rock between them. Watching how city dwellers flock to those park spaces, Balmori realizes that there’s a wealth of untapped, unutilized potential not only for the human city dwellers, but the flora and fauna grasping for a foothold in a gray world.

A robust example of the success a rooftop landscape is Balmori’s own 667 acre Public Administration complex in Sejong, Korea. Balmori Associates says, “We proposed a new approach to city-making, one that starts with landscape architecture. The master plan consists of a continuous linear park on a continuous roof joining all the ministries.” In conjunction to providing a reprieve for persons, the task of building a green roof with wildlife in mind requires a whole other set of considerations. “Creating biodiversity on a green roof or green wall is significantly different than restoring it on ground level. On a rooftop there is no preexisting ecology to enhance; everything is from scratch,” states the Green Roof Service webpage of Jörg Breuning, owner.

Given this, the plants, animals and insects are essentially living under an altered set of circumstances, which could affect their continuing habitation and ability to thrive under the new conditions, even with a perfect replication of a landscape indigenous to any particular area.

From an infrastructural standpoint, the installation of green roofs presents vast benefits, including prolonging the life spans of rooftop materials, decreased use and energy consumption of HVAC units, stormwater management, and significant moderation of the Urban Heat Island effect.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Community webpage states, “Through the daily dew and evaporation cycle, plants on vertical and horizontal surfaces are able to cool cities during hot summer months and reduce the UHI effect. The light absorbed by vegetation would otherwise be converted into heat energy.” With such evidence of benefits being discovered and explored from several standpoints: the human element, ecology, and infrastructure, a future with more green roof designs should be just on the horizon for landscape design experts, scientists, engineers, and others.

photo credit: Green Roof GardnerCC

Green tech needed as CO2 emissions increase

Green tech needed as CO2 emissions increase

 

Carbon dioxide levels in the northern hemisphere hit 400 parts per million for the first time in human history, according to an article by the Sydney Morning Herald.

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The Future of Cityscapes Depend on Green Infrastructures

Green Infrastructures

An investigation by a research group called The Resilience of Cityscapes, published in the international Biotope City journal, showed that green roofs, living walls, and greened permeable pavements has a multitude of positive effects.

“The impact of green infrastructure on an urban fabric has been visualised by computer modeling tools. The computer model results showed that all tested green technologies provide benefits to the urban microclimate and water storage capacity,” the report said.

It showed that green infrastructure is the solution to the resilience of cityscapes worldwide. The report said there is a huge trend in urbanisation with more than 50 percent of the world’s population now living in cities.

“Two effects of this influx can be observed: the occupied city area grows and
density increases. At the same time citizens request more infrastructure from cities such as public transport, recreation and sewage systems. City planners are challenged to combine the pressure of growth and integration of satisfactory infrastructure.”

The research monitored 14 green roofs, five living walls and nine surface consolidation methods in the city of Vienna to see their microclimatic effects.

Compared to surfaces like plaster or brick, plants convert sun energy into oxygen and air humidity.

“It is assumed that plants ameliorate the urban microclimate (by adding humidity and reducing radiation and wind speed) while regular surfaces
reduce the thermal comfort of cities. Aside from the positive microclimatic effects plants are also able to store water.”

Plants also improve the predicted mean vote (PMV), which describes the human thermal wellbeing. The research tested an urban area in Vienna under different types of “scenarios”. These include the climate scenario, greening scenario, the minimum greening scenario, and the maximum greening scenario.

The tests found that green infrastructure can act as a buffer for climatic extremes.

“By means of computer simulation, the measurements at test sites have been transferred to representative urban typologies of the City of Vienna. To find out, which microclimatic effect could be achieved by green infrastructure, two greening scenarios have been applied on urban typologies and subjected to today’s and future climatic framework conditions. The simulations make clear, that the urban microclimate can be ameliorated by integration of green infrastructure.”

It emphasised that green infrastructure is the “one appealing solution to improve the resilience of cities against climate change”.

“Apart from the microclimatic effects and the positive influence on thermal comfort, green infrastructure provides a broad range of added values: water retention, health promotion and psychological effects (stress reduction), habitat and habitat connection for fauna and flora, biodiversity and urban farming.”

The report also realised the hindrances to the implementation of green infrastructures such as different types of value on facades where some are often protected. There are also things like different regulations in different cities or the fact that most buildings are privately owned and therefore needs incentives for their properties to be developed into green infrastructure.

These are things that need to be overcome as the report also said that just a single green infrastructure would not be effective in the bigger scheme of things. In order to have the full effect of the benefits of green infrastructures in cityscapes, “a combination of different types of green infrastructure and a network of green infrastructure throughout the city is necessary”. CTA_Full Treepit Library

Benefits of Green Roofs, Walls and Facades

Benefits of Green Roofs, Walls and Facades

Image from Fytogreen. This is Fytogreen’s vertical garden project in 1 Blight St, Sydney.

Winter is coming to Australia and with the cold weather comes heating costs. However, heating costs may soon be a thing of the past with an alternative greener concept.

Victoria’s Growing Green Guide, a project by The University of Melbourne, The Inner Melbourne Action Plan and several industry experts, is pushing for green roofs as a more cost-effective alternative to answer heating needs.

The guide provides technical advice on how to design, build and manage green roofs, walls and facades so they can provide multiple benefits over a long period of time.

According to the guide, green roofs, walls and facades provide several benefits to the community and its residents. Here are some excerpts from the report:

  • Building owners and developers are increasingly installing green roofs, walls or facades to add a point of difference, increase commercial returns, provide visual appeal and turn a building into a local landmark. It increases property value as well as other benefits for building owners. Green roofs can lengthen the lifespan of a traditional roof surface. They protect a roof’s waterproof membrane from solar radiation and add insulating materials to reduce severe temperature fluctuations on the roof surface. The report says early design discussions will help ensure that the roof, wall, or façade can be planned and incorporated in other building aspects such as drainage, irrigation, lighting and weight loading.
  • Green roofs absorb and retain rainwater and can be used to manage stormwater run-off in urban environments. They can also filter particulates and pollutants. Stormwater run-off can be reduced or slowed because it is stored in the substrate. Additional water storage capacity in green roof systems can be provided through incorporation of a water retentive layer or drainage layer at the base of the green roof.
  • It reduces building heating and cooling requirements. Green walls and facades can reduce heat gain in summer by directly shading the building surface. Green roofs reduce heat transfer through the roof and ambient temperatures on the roof surface, improving the performance of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
  • Green walls, roofs and facades reduce the urban heat island effect. Temperatures can be reduced by covering a roof or wall with a layer of vegetation that shades building materials, which would otherwise absorb heat. Evapotranspiration provides cooling effects, as water is evaporated from the soil and plants transpire by taking water in through roots and releasing it through leaves. The report suggests a city-wide strategy to implement green roofs, walls and facades to help mitigate some of the negative consequences of the UHI effect.
  • Green roofs can contribute to and enhance biodiversity by providing new urban habitats and specific habitats for rare or important species of plants or animals. It can also provide a link or corridor across urban ecological deserts and assist in migration of invertebrates and birds.
  • These green infrastructures can increase amenity and provide opportunities for food production, recreation, relaxation or commercial ventures. Green roofs, walls and facades can be used for multi-level greenery designs that connect with ground level green spaces.
  • Finally, they also contribute to the removal of gaseous pollutants from the air. Plants with a high foliage density or with textured leaf surfaces that trap small particles also assist in removing particulate pollution, through dry deposition on the foliage or through rain wash.

The good news is that most building surfaces have the potential for greening. It’s just a matter of knowing how to do it properly to get the most benefits out of it. A copy of the guide is free to view for those interested.

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