Green Roofs Have Another Benefit: Improved Solar Production

Green roofs are becoming a phenomenon, an integral part of green design.

Besides their abundant benefits in countering the heat island effect in cities, reducing energy demand in buildings, and providing habitat for birds and green spaces for people, there’s could be another important one – they increase energy production of solar panels.

Emerging research suggests the vegetation on a green roof helps keep the ambient air around solar panels cooler than if they were installed on a black, bitumen roof – which helps solar panels run more efficiently.

At least two studies pointing to this finding have emerged in recent months – one from Berlin, which shows a 6% improvement in solar production, and another from the Bronx Design and Construction Academy in New York, which demonstrates a 3% boost, reports Green Building Elements.

The article notes:

"The combination of green roofs and solar panels does seem to yield significant benefits.  A green roof does not only conserve energy and reduce the workload for the solar system, but also increases energy output. The extra performance boost will help offset the cost of the green roof and the solar panels on top of it, which in the long run will lower solar panels cost."

The Green Roof business is growing rapidly, expected to reach a $7 billion market by 2017, forecasts Lux Research. Besides the benefits we mentioned above, they also provide thermal and acoustic insulation, remove airborne pollutants, stormwater management and absorb carbon dioxide.

Examples of governnent policies pushing green roofs forward: 

  • Switzerland: Basel mandates that 30% of all flat roofs be green roofs by 2016.
  • US: New York offers a one-year tax abatement of up to $48 per square meter, up to a $100,000 maximum per building
  • Canada: Toronto requires green roofs on all new buildings with a floor area exceeding 2,000 square meters. It offers a cash rebate of $50 per square meter, up to a $100,000 maximum per project.

The main barrier to adopting green roofs is the cost, which  ranges from $300-$500 per square meter, estimates Lux. The biggest growth areas will be commercial and institutional buildings such as universities, hospitals, airports and corporate headquarters.

Some of the green roofs we’ve recently written about are:  Millennium Park, which covers 25 acres in Chicago; FedEx Express 175,000 square foot roof at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport; a 2.5 acre roof on the Post Office’s NYC distribution center; and an apartment complex in China.

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Comments on “Green Roofs Have Another Benefit: Improved Solar Production”

  1. Paul Felix Schott

    I am Counting on

    Energy From GOD Our Sun Free Energy. Very good our churches installing solar panels. For all that live near by and all that see this on our Churches. If your Local Government will not look to the Future go to a Church.

    The Island of Maui in the Pacific Ocean is truly a Tropical Paradise like many of the Hawaii Islands that has used Solar and wind Energy for many years. Its Seascapes are as Beautiful as its Landscapes. Many like Hana’s by Kipahulu in Maui were the coffee maker runs on the Sun Solar Power. Her freshly picked Tropical fruit smoothies are the greatest. You make the electrical power on a bicycle for the blender to run. Banana, Mango, Papaya, Guava and of course My favorite Coconut and Pineapple are just some of what you can make.

    Many of us that live and visit Maui already have Solar and Wind Energy. Very soon many more will and some day most all will be cutting the line to the Power Utilities Grid. Stopping them from putting their hands in our pocket book.

    Free Energy from the Sun. WHY pay for it, to some one else? Your Local Utility Provider is NOT A valuable resource in Your Time Of Financial Need. Or the GOV they just want to TAX you more. LOOK TO SOLAR AND WIND ENERGY on the internet it has been the Modern Day Archimedes learning platform for our Schools and Universities for Years. In this case look to the House of GOD. It has always been the best place for the truth. The Bible.

    Many in the Island of Maui and other Islands have been off the Grid for years.

    There are many Reasons Home Owners Should Consider Going Solar there has to be at least 100 Good Reasons. Soon Hawaii will Lead with showcasing Solar Energy To the World. Our Front runner of all Fighter Jets in the World the F -22 hanger has the newest State Of The Art Hawaii Air Guard’s F-22 Solar Powered Hangar and Maintenance Building Facility many of the other Military Bases on the Hawaii Islands and Around the World have or are going SOLAR Powered. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii officially opened the first of three Ethanol 85 (E85) fueling stations planned for the Navy’s fleet of flex-fuel vehicles at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH).
    Renewable Energy the way to go and leading them SOLAR Energy.

    GOD Bless for the good work all do to Help the Church Light the Way.

    Now if we can only get our World Leaders to Read the Bible More, and look to the real Paradise Heaven not Hell, and stay out of our Pocket books.

    Jesus said ….
    I am the way and the Life no man comes to my Father Except through me.
    I am the Light of the World.

    The Lord’s little Helper

    Paul Felix Schott


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