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Green Smart Magazine : 2009_new
reen roofs and walls are breathing life back into the concrete jungle of some of Australia's urban spaces. Suitable for commercial and residential applications, green roofs and walls not only look good but provide a range of benefits for your home and the environment, including: • improving air quality • reducing energy requirements by providing additional thermal insulation • cooling high density urban areas • the filtration, collection and storage of water. They can also be used for food production, sound insulation and additional outdoor amenity space. While they've been popular in Europe for many years, green roofs and walls are relatively new to Australia. Sidonie Carpenter, president of Green Roofs Australia, suggests that this is because we haven't needed to use our space as efficiently as many European countries. Until now. 'We live in a massive country with a relatively small population,' she says. 'The Europeans have been building green roofs and walls for about 60-odd years in their urban areas because they live in incredibly high- density cities, while we've had the luxury of the quarter-acre block and the back garden. The green revolution is scaling new heights as roofs and walls take on the new hue. climbing the walls story > Jeanie Watson greenroofs+walls When it comes to putting in a green roof, you can use a flat or pitched roof to partially or completely plant with vegetation. Green roofs are classified into two main types: • intensive -- typically heavier with deep-growing vegetation, irrigation and capacity for a wide variety of shrubs, grass and trees • extensive -- a lighter, easier option that is ideal for retrofit applications, with shallow-growing vegetation including low-growing plants and ground cover Sidonie Carpenter of Green Roofs Australia says there are some important limitations to green roofs which you need to be aware of. These include: • the structural load bearing of the building and any subsequent impact on it from the additional weight capacity of soil and plants • changing temperatures, wind, and solar radiation (e.g. the roof surface of a city CBD building can reach over 100°C in the summertime in Australia), all of which may limit species selection and plant survival • general maintenance and safety. > green roof guide GREEN WALLS CAN BE USED AS FEATURE WALLS OR DIVIDERS IN COURTYARDS AS WELL AS GROWING HERBS AND VEGETABLES G Photos courtesy of Green Roofs Australia greensmart 9 11