Green roofs have become a widespread phenomenon over the last few years but very little research has been focused on perfecting the practice in the Middle East, where high temperatures and dwindling water resources have prevented widespread uptake. But that is all set to change as a new center dedicated to researching the efficacy, ecology and overall environmental impact of green roofs has opened in Israel.
The University of Haifa received a gift from a British expert in the field of vegetated rooftops, and was facilitated by VP for External Relations and Resource Development Amos Gaver, according to a recent press release.
Long known to improve air quality, capture rainwater runoff, and enhance the energetic efficiency of buildings due to the insulation properties, a proliferation of green roofs in Israel and the rest of the Middle East could help to slash energy consumption.
They can help also promote greater biodiversity and urban living species for birds and insects and promote a greater green aesthetic in a region increasingly overrun with concrete buildings.
But planting a green roof isn’t quite as simple as an outdoor herb garden, which is why the Green Roof Ecology Research Center is such an important development.
“The new center, headed by Prof. Leon Blaustein of the University’s Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, will be examining the field in the Israeli context: Will it be possible to assemble green roofs in the Israeli climate without artificial irrigation? Will Israeli flora be reliable to serve for green roofs; And do green roofs increase the biological diversity of insets and plants?” according to the university’s press release.
“Research at the center will also examine the utilization of greywater irrigation for the roofs; whether a building’s height affects insect attraction to a green roof; whether drainage from green roofs might cause more environmental damage than good; and more.”
The University of Haifa has already outfitted one roof with 48 plant beds and is currently scouting out new candidates that will receive the same treatment.
Image courtesy the University of Haifa