As the evidence for greater human well-being grows as a result of contact (visual and physical) with the natural environment there would appear a greater need to incorporate green infrastructure within the built up environment. This would apply to new developments as well as retro-fitting. A number of studies have found that access to green areas can improve our mental health as well as our physical health such as reducing blood pressure.
Which Would You Choose?
Imagine the difference between looking out at a grey concrete vista and a view that has been designed and built to benefit nature. You don’t have to answer the above question as I already know the answer!
Integrating Green Roofs
The integration of green infrastructure brings a multitude of benefits to our environment where human beings, flora and fauna can all win. Of course, it isn’t always possible to find space in our towns and cities to build a park or other communal green space at ground level, so the only option remaining would be the 1000s of square feet of available roof space. Retro-fitting green roofs can be an expensive business, but if you take the long term view, then the costs comes down considerably. For instance, properties would experience less maintenance and replacement costs as a result of the longer life of a green roof. The green roof would also act as an insulator, keeping the space below the roof warmer and therefore reducing fuel bills. Additionally, residents/employees could also share and enjoy the green space if it was made accessible.
A recent study in the USA demonstrated that post surgery recovery was greater in hospitals where patients looked out onto a green space. A few years ago, another hospital in Basel was redesigned as it was felt that intensive care patients would benefit if they could look out across greenery rather than concrete. This was nearly 20 years ago and since then a number of hospitals across Europe have followed these examples.
How do we make this happen?
To make this happen, governments need to implement policies that will encourage the building of green infrastructure. In Germany, many cities provide financial support for green roofs.
This would need to be supported by an education program that would inform the public and other stakeholders of the benefits of green roofs. In the UK, there would need to be greater incentives for those in the construction sector to alter their practices and have greater integration of green infrastructure within their developments so that we can all enjoy a healthy built environment.
To chat about your green roof project call us on 0844 057 0359. We’re happy to give advice and can supply everything you’ll need for your green roof including a root resistant membrane, your sedum and importantly your lightweight, organic green roof growing medium