Green Roofs

1st March 2022
by Urban Earth

Green roofs are amazing!

The origins of green roofs began thousands of years ago.  The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. Though some dispute whether they were ever real or that the tales are based on another garden of around the same time in Nineveh


“The origins of green roofs began thousands of years ago. The most famous green roofs were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. They were considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, were constructed around 500 B.C. They were built over arched stone beams and waterproofed with layers of reeds and thick tar. Plants and trees were then planted. In more recent times, people used sod to cover their roof tops for the purpose of insulation, it kept their homes cool in summer and warm in winter. Modern green roofs may have had their “roots” in ancient times but technological advances have made them far more efficient and expensive than their ancient counterparts.”  []


What matters is the fusion of man’s buildings with the natural environment is not a new idea. What is new is our ability to understand and really grasp the benefits of this concept, for us and for our environment. Particularly in a time where our impact on the environment is becoming increasingly questioned.

Green roofs are becoming an increasing part of my vocabulary as a designer. Particularly in more urban areas, this natural and environmentally friendly roofing alternative is coming into its own. Not only are they improving air quality by taking in surrounding carbon dioxide but also helping the land. Green roofing also holds a commendable amount of rainwater, particularly in the summer, water that would otherwise place a burden on existing infrastructure, which as we see in the flooding of recent years, is struggling to cope.

Aside from the purely quantifiable benefits, there are a myriad of more, especially when the building is going to be viewed from above, benefitting our subconscious affinity for nature. That makes us feel a sense of ease which we experience when being in a more natural space. Again these benefits are best noticed in the city and more urban areas where the contrast is starker, creating a snowball effect since the plants on the roof attract more biodiversity in turn adding to the benefits, which will make others more inclined to incorporate them, and so on and so forth.

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