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A REVIEW OF GREEN ROOFS RESEARCH: CHARACTERISTICS, DESIGN, BENEFITS AND

CHALLENGES
M. C. Ciraco1,2; G. M. Cuenca Moyano1,3; M. Martn Morales3; F. Serrano Bernado1;
A. L. B. Cavalcante2; M. Zamorano Toro1
1

Department of Civil Engineering. ETS Ingeniera de Caminos, Canales y Puertos, University of


Granada, Granada, Spain
2
3

Department of Civil Engineering, University of Brasilia, Braslia-DF, Brasil

Department of Building Construction, ETS Ingeniera de Edificacin, University of Granada,


Granada, Spain

ABSTRACT
Buildings are responsible of approximately 40% of worldwide energy use as well as 33% of
greenhouse gas emission globally. In consequence various sustainable approaches and
environmentally responsive energy efficient technologies have been proposed and
implemented; these include advanced eco-technologies, energy efficient systems and
renewable energy sources. In this context, green roofs are often identified as a valuable
strategy for making buildings more sustainable. Green roof is an architectural technique which
consists of the placement of soil or substrate and vegetation over an impermeable layer
located on the roofs of buildings. Green roofs balance a buildings internal environment,
providing thermal and acoustic insulation, whilst also absorbing CO2 and partially
compensating for the impermeable area of ground occupied by the premises. Projects
involving green roofs are very flexible and can address all of our needs, i.e. the cultivation of
food at accessible areas such as hanging gardens. However, it is essential that the intended
purpose of a green roof is noted during each projects definition, with preference given to
robust plants needing low levels of maintenance and water consumption. As regards to
infrastructure, special attention must be paid to the waterproofing of the base which is to be
installed on the green roof, utilizing the workforce and appropriate products and following the
planned guideline whilst attending to the stress applied to the green roof to the building and
verifying which types of vegetation will be planted. Despite the numerous benefits that green
roofs can offer, challenges still exist as the technique continues to grow, such as the
maintenance needed to conserve a healthy structure, the high initial investment required, the
complex foreclosure system and the rises in pest levels, amongst others. Therefore, this paper
aims to highlight the characteristics, design, benefits, and challenges of the implementation of
green roofs in urban centers.
Keywords: Eco-tecnology, Environmental Benefits, Green roof, Sustainable Design

Sustainable Development Symposium | 6th annual European postgraduate symposium | 1