Special Issue "Green Roofing with Native Species: Enhance Water Use and Sustainability"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Use and Scarcity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Teresa Afonso do Paço
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Instituto Superior de Agronomia, LEAF, University of Lisbon, 1649-004 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: plant water requirements; irrigation; evapotranspiration modelling; water use of woody crops and green roofs
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Most parts of Southern Europe have rainy winters and hot dry summers, implying that vegetation in such regions must survive, to a certain extent, during periods without rainfall. For green roofs, this suggests that suitable plant species must endure dry periods or, alternatively, irrigation must be adopted. Native plants are naturally indicated as candidates for green roofs in such regions, since they are adapted to drought during summer. They further have other advantages: they have evolved with surrounding fauna species, suggesting that they are able to create more suitable habitats for these species on a roof than exotic plant species; they are more resilient to pests and diseases; and they are more likely to form self-sustaining plant communities. However, the microclimate on a roof can differ from the ground, as there is a higher exposure to radiation and wind, and also because plants must survive in a shallow substrate. Thus, the native species must further overcome these obstacles while providing a cost-effective solution for green roofs.

The aims of this Special Issue devoted to green roofs in Southern Europe include but are not limited to:

  • the study of native plant species adaptation in these structures;
  • the water use and irrigation requirements of native species;
  • green roofs and climate change adaptation;
  • installation and management techniques that enhance water conservation;
  • biodiversity.

Prof. Dr. Teresa A. Paço
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • green roof, climate change, water conservation, resilience, irrigation, biodiversity, cost-effective solutions

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
A Green Roof Case Study in the Urban Context of Milan: Integrating the Residential and Cultivation Functions for Sustainable Development
Water 2021, 13(2), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020137 - 08 Jan 2021
Viewed by 616
Abstract
Green roofs are increasing in popularity because of both their pleasant appearance and their positive effects for the urban ecosystems and the building indoor climatic conditions. Though this technology has already been applied all over the world, it is still commonly considered of [...] Read more.
Green roofs are increasing in popularity because of both their pleasant appearance and their positive effects for the urban ecosystems and the building indoor climatic conditions. Though this technology has already been applied all over the world, it is still commonly considered of difficult application and management. Easy and fast approaches for green roofs must therefore be examined and encouraged in order to increase their number to counterbalance urban overheating. This thesis case study aimed to represent a prototype of a green roof integrated with a residential function in order to achieve an easy management of the cultivation area. The project was designed in terms of sustainability and was analyzed for its social, environmental and economic impacts, pointing out the numerous benefits that can be derived by the combination and juxtaposition of humans and native plants. The proposed solution is favorable in terms of a sustainable development: it aspires to be reproduced and extensively applied to other facilities of a city as a solution for the overheating and overpopulation of contemporary cities. Full article
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Article
Are Biocrusts and Xerophytic Vegetation a Viable Green Roof Typology in a Mediterranean Climate? A Comparison between Differently Vegetated Green Roofs in Water Runoff and Water Quality
Water 2021, 13(1), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13010094 - 04 Jan 2021
Viewed by 956
Abstract
Green roofs can be an innovative and effective way of mitigating the environmental impact of urbanization by providing several important ecosystem services. However, it is known that the performance of green roofs varies depending on the type of vegetation and, in drier climates, [...] Read more.
Green roofs can be an innovative and effective way of mitigating the environmental impact of urbanization by providing several important ecosystem services. However, it is known that the performance of green roofs varies depending on the type of vegetation and, in drier climates, without resorting to irrigation, these are limited to xerophytic plant species and biocrusts. The aim of this research was therefore to compare differently vegetated green roofs planted with this type of vegetation. A particular focus was their ability to hold water during intense stormwater events and also the quality of the harvested rainwater. Six test beds with different vegetation compositions were used on the roof of a building in Lisbon. Regarding stormwater retention, the results varied depending on the composition of the vegetation and the season. As for water quality, almost all the parameters tested were higher than the Drinking Water Directive from the European Union (EU) and Word Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for drinking-water quality standards for potable water. Based on our results, biocrusts and xerophytic vegetation are a viable green roof typology for slowing runoff during stormwater events. Full article
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Article
Performance of Three Different Native Plant Mixtures for Extensive Green Roofs in a Humid Subtropical Climate Context
Water 2020, 12(12), 3484; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123484 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 529
Abstract
Most of the services and benefits of green roofs are related to the substrate as well as the vegetation layer. Although plant selection should be made on the basis of green roof typology, morphology, and climate conditions, very often, Sedum species only are [...] Read more.
Most of the services and benefits of green roofs are related to the substrate as well as the vegetation layer. Although plant selection should be made on the basis of green roof typology, morphology, and climate conditions, very often, Sedum species only are used worldwide. However, they do not always guarantee the best performances; hence, it is important to investigate different plant species and their performance in different climate contexts. Herein, an experiment was conducted using three plant mixes (i.e., a Sedum mix, a perennial herbaceous mix, and a suffruticose mix), grown in boxes containing two substrates (a volcanic substrate or a recycled crushed brick substrate) and two drainage/storage layers (a preformed layer or a mineral layer), in factorial combination. The Sedum mix showed a high canopy cover, comparable to or even higher than that of the other mixes, particularly when supplemental irrigation was stopped. However, the actual crop coefficient (Kcact) of the herbaceous and suffruticose mixes was often higher than that of the Sedum mix. The results also showed that both the substrate and the drainage/storage layer may improve Kcact values as a consequence of their capacity for stormwater retention. Full article
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Article
Using Chlorophyll a Fluorescence Imaging to Select Desiccation-Tolerant Native Moss Species for Water-Sustainable Green Roofs
Water 2020, 12(6), 1748; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061748 - 19 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 899
Abstract
Green roofs have been more thoroughly investigated in the last few years due to the potential benefits they offer to ecosystems in urban areas (e.g., carbon sequestration, particle retention, heat island effect attenuation). However, current climate change models predict an increase in desertification, [...] Read more.
Green roofs have been more thoroughly investigated in the last few years due to the potential benefits they offer to ecosystems in urban areas (e.g., carbon sequestration, particle retention, heat island effect attenuation). However, current climate change models predict an increase in desertification, with an increase in temperature and decrease in rainfall, which means there is an increasing demand for green roofs with lower water consumption. Vegetation with very little water requirements, such as desiccation-tolerant mosses, has shown a potential to complement or substitute for vascular species, increasing the sustainability of lower water use in green roofs. In this study, we use chlorophyll a fluorescence imaging to screen for bryophytes with adequate physiology to be used in green roofs placed in at-risk areas with prolonged drought episodes. Apart from Hypnum cupressiforme, all selected species presented a high potential for use in those conditions, particularly Didymodon fallax, Grimmia lisae, Pleurochaete squarrosa, and Targionia hypophylla. Chlorophyll a fluorescence imaging technology proved to be a simple and non-invasive tool for a fast screening of these poikilohydric organisms, to be used in future studies of bryophyte biology, but more importantly in the green roof industry. Full article
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Article
Impact of Vegetation, Substrate, and Irrigation on the Energy Performance of Green Roofs in a Mediterranean Climate
Water 2019, 11(10), 2016; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102016 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1394
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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