Green roof energy performance is still a challenging topic, namely in a Mediterranean climate since it depends on building characteristics, roof type, and also on climatic conditions. This paper evaluates green roof buildings’ energy needs and use in a Mediterranean climate. An experimentally calibrated numerical model was used to perform a parametric analysis and identify the influence of key parameters in heating and cooling energy needs, as well as annual energy use. The vegetation height, the soil depth, and LAI (leaf area index) were identified as the key parameters. The irrigation levels were also crucial for the energy performance of green roofs, particularly during the summer period and in a Mediterranean climate. Heating energy needs were mainly associated with soil depth due to higher thermal resistance, whereas cooling energy needs depended mostly on LAI, which influenced evapotranspiration and shading effects. A reduction of soil depth from 1.0 m to 0.1 m increased winter energy needs by up to 140%, while low values of LAI increased cooling energy needs up to 365%. Annual energy use in a Mediterranean climate showed a higher dependence on soil depth, with oscillations of up to 115%, followed by LAI and vegetation height. Finally, irrigation levels impacted the annual energy use more significantly for lower watering flow rates. Reductions of about 500% were obtained when changing watering flowrates from 0 mm/day to 6 mm/day in intensive green roofs. Since green roofs with native species expect low values of watering, this may increase their cooling energy needs.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited