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.

Green tech needed as CO2 emissions increase:

The World Meteorological Organisation said this is a wake up call for all governments to urgently act to reduce emissions.

The article said “almost 200 governments have agreed to work out a deal by the end of 2015 to slow climate change as part of efforts to limit the average temperature increase to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times”.

Now more than ever, green infrastructure technologies have become even more integral in urban landscapes. It is now the big buzzword in urban development. The introduction of the Growing Green Guide – a guide to green roofs, walls and facades in Melbourne and Victoria – is starting the progress of green infrastructure technologies.

However, compared to other parts of the world, Australia is still considered low in uptake of green roofs and walls. According to an article on The Conversation by John Rayner from the University of Melbourne, these landscaped building surfaces have been slow to spread in the country as most of the expertise, systems and materials are in the northern hemisphere.

“Living walls support plants through irrigated, vertical containers or felt-based structures fixed to a wall surface. Green facades use climbing plants to provide green coverage over a wall, either directly on the building surface or more commonly using a steel trellis or cable system, with plants grown in-ground or in containers that are supported across the building façade,” Rayner said.

As stated in one of our previous posts, there are several benefits of green infrastructure technologies. These can range from absorbing and retaining water to reducing building heating and cooling requirements, reducing urban heat island effect, enhancing biodiversity and removing pollutants in the air.

On top of these benefits, a recent study also said that people living in greener neighbourhoods reported a lower risk of short sleep. Compared with participants living in areas with only 20 percent green space land-use, those living in areas with 80 percent green space achieved longer sleep duration.

The study found that “more green space within the neighbourhood of residence is associated with a healthier duration of sleep among a large sample of Australians aged 45 and over”.

“As it stands, people living in greener areas tend to be at a lower risk of short sleep duration and this could have important subsequent impacts on health, including obesity and cardiovascular disease. It is also plausible that healthier sleep durations promoted by exposure to green space may aid mental health and participation in physical activity. As such, future studies employing longitudinal techniques may consider investigating sleep duration as a possible mediator of associations between green space and health outcomes,” the study said.

Rayner’s article said that a study in Toronto “on the implementation of green roofs across low-rise, flat roofs greater than 350 square-metres concluded that ambient air temperatures across the city could be reduced by up to 2°C”.

He added that the spike in green roofs and walls in the United States in the last couple of years, even with the poor economy, “suggests demand for these installations will continue”.

Citygreen Specifier Reference Manual