Green Roofs, Green Walls, Urban Greenhouses and Hi-Tech City Landscape for Sustainability

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524). This special issue belongs to the section "Protected Culture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 May 2024) | Viewed by 7930

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Guest Editor
ENEA, Department for Energy Efficiency (DUEE), Integrated Services Division for Territorial Development, Lungotevere Thaon di Revel, 76-00196 Roma, Italy
Interests: biology and agronomy; energy efficiency and sustainability in agriculture; agroindustry and rural development; greenhouse technologies for extreme environments

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Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pisa, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: green infrastructures; building efficiency; sustainable development; Life Cycle Assessment; green roofs; rural buildings
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
ENEA, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development. Via Anguillarese 301, 00123 Rome, Italy
Interests: green infrastructures; VOC emission mitigation by plants; biochar; soil amendments; soil carbon sequestration; plant response to abiotic stresses (drought)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Green plants have always been a design element in the architecture of buildings and the urban decoration of cities. Recently however, it has been revealed that they play an effective role in tackling the negative environmental impacts and energy costs that result from the air conditioning units of buildings, enabling the utilization of spaces and surfaces otherwise not exploited in cities. The use of plant systems as a Nature-Based Solution (NBS) to improve the environmental and energy sustainability of buildings and cities is in accordance with the objectives of the COM (2013) 249 Directive "Green Infrastructures—Strengthening Natural Capital in Europe". In addition, the use of vegetation for reducing the energy costs of acclimatization in buildings has been considered by the Directive (EU) 2018/844 on Energy Efficiency and the European Green Deal 2021–2026 strategy. In this context, the plant phenomena of photosynthesis and evapotranspiration are particularly useful during hot seasons to reduce electricity consumption and CO2 emissions that result from the air conditioning of buildings; moreover, plant-covered surfaces provide shade for and shield buildings’ outer surfaces. Thus, plant systems installed on buildings represent an attractive strategy to achieve the goals of energy efficiency and environmental regeneration, and can also involve growing food-based plants on urban green roofs and in greenhouses. This Special Issue aims to involve work from scientists and experts from various research fields on the use of vegetation to promote sustainability and energy saving, the acceleration of the decarbonization of cities, as well as the reduction of air pollution and the transformation of cities into sustainable and resilient ecosystems.

Dr. Carlo Alberto Campiotti
Prof. Dr. Carlo Bibbiani
Dr. Arianna Latini
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • green walls
  • green roofs
  • green infrastructures
  • air conditioning
  • building energy efficiency
  • urban nature-based solutions
  • urban ecosystem services

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 4151 KiB  
Article
Comparative Study of Different Crassulaceae Species for Their Potential Use as Plant Covers to Improve Thermal Performance of Green Roofs
by Gonzalo Gurrea-Ysasi, Vicente Blanca-Giménez, Pascual Fernández de Córdova, Carles Cortés-Olmos, Adrián Rodríguez-Burruezo and Inmaculada C. Fita
Horticulturae 2022, 8(9), 846; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8090846 - 14 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1636
Abstract
The presence of green roofs in urban areas improves the energy efficiency of buildings; contributes to the capture of CO2, decreasing pollution; and improves the appearance of cities, increasing their sustainability. Additionally, green roofs must include plant species with low requirements [...] Read more.
The presence of green roofs in urban areas improves the energy efficiency of buildings; contributes to the capture of CO2, decreasing pollution; and improves the appearance of cities, increasing their sustainability. Additionally, green roofs must include plant species with low requirements and maintenance, and thus, succulent species could be useful in Mediterranean semi-arid regions. In this work, the thermal inertia and the effect of different succulent species as thermal barriers on mitigating the increase in temperature inside experimental compartments were studied in comparison to conventional covers used in the Spanish Mediterranean for a whole year. In general, green covers were more efficient than conventional ones for controlling temperature. Thus, temperatures under green covers were up to 8 °C lower than conventional covers and 3–5 °C lower than the ambient temperature at noon on summer days. Furthermore, significant differences were found between green covers. Thus, despite having high thermal inertia, Aptenia cordifolia showed the worst temperature records, while Aeonium arboreum was the most efficient at mitigating temperature changes both on cold winter nights and hot summer days—even better than Sedum spp., a usual succulent used commercially. Our results demonstrate that succulent species are efficient materials to use as green covers to improve thermal conditions in buildings in Mediterranean cities. This also suggests that the mixture of succulent species (i.e., not only made of Sedum spp.) with different colors and textures could beautify green roofs without compromising their energy efficiency. Full article
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19 pages, 5909 KiB  
Article
Vertical Greenery as Natural Tool for Improving Energy Efficiency of Buildings
by Carlo Alberto Campiotti, Lorenzo Gatti, Alessandro Campiotti, Luciano Consorti, Patrizia De Rossi, Carlo Bibbiani, Rosario Muleo and Arianna Latini
Horticulturae 2022, 8(6), 526; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8060526 - 15 Jun 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4728
Abstract
The European Construction Sector Observatory outlined that green building envelopes as green roofs and walls contribute to the reduction of energy demand and CO2 emissions due to the air conditioning in summer periods, and the mitigation of heat islands in urban areas. [...] Read more.
The European Construction Sector Observatory outlined that green building envelopes as green roofs and walls contribute to the reduction of energy demand and CO2 emissions due to the air conditioning in summer periods, and the mitigation of heat islands in urban areas. For this reason, the understanding about the contribution of urban greening infrastructures on buildings to sustainable energy use for air conditioning is urgent. This paper focuses on the analysis of a vertical surface provided with a Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch., a winter deciduous species, as green cover of a building, assessing the reduction of the solar radiation energy absorbed by the façade and, consequently, the heat flux (HF) transmitted into the internal ambient. This research shows that, in July, surface temperatures (STs) on the vegetated façade were up to 13 °C lower than on the unvegetated (bare) façade. Under the climate and environmental conditions of the green wall located at ENEA Casaccia Research Center, a saving of 2.22 and 1.94 kWhe/m2, respectively in 2019 and 2020, for the summer cooling electricity load, was achieved. These energy reductions also allowed the saving of 985 and 862 g CO2/m2 emissions, respectively, in 2019 and 2020. Ultimately, a green factor named Kv* was also elaborated to evaluate the influence of vegetation on the STs as well as on HFs transmitted into the indoor ambient and adapted to the case of a detached vertical green cover. Measurements of Kv* factor lasting three years showed the suitability of this index for defining the shading capacity of the vegetation on the building façade surfaces, which can be used to predict thermal gains and effects in a building endowed of a vertical green system. Full article
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