With increased urbanisation and loss of natural spaces there must be a sustainable approach to urban development. In this article, the technical manager at Riefa Green Roofs explores how green spaces and in particular green roofs can improve our urban environment.
The diminishing number of green spaces in our towns and cities is not only have a devastating impact on our flora and fauna but is also creating serious problems for the health and well-being of the people living in these environments. Approximately, 55% of the World’s population live in urban areas and this is likely to increase. According to UK government statistics, the population living in urban areas in the United Kingdom is around the 82% mark.
Physical and Mental Health
Increased urbanisation has not only reduced the number of green spaces but has significantly decreased the population’s physical and mental health. There is much evidence that having access to green spaces reduces stress levels and improves personal well-being. Certainly, it should be the government’s and local authorities’ priority to push the issue of reducing environmental stress up the agenda, especially when you consider the sustainability targets set by them in the first place. To have healthy cities we need more green spaces which in turn will lead to more sustainable urban environments.
Benefits to the Urban Environment
Green roofs can play a significant role as part of the solution and is just one of the effective tools available to mitigate against environmental degradation. Green roofs are recognised to reduce the heat island effect and can reduce the general ambient temperature in densely populated areas by 2 to 3 degrees centigrade. They also help to reduce temperature fluctuations indoors as well as insulating buildings in cold weather.
Considering the increased number of violent storms due to climate change, green roofs can also control water runoff and thereby reduce the risk of flooding. By helping to reduce the drainage rate, local drainage systems are better able to cope. The green roofs also filter out much of the pollutants that end up in our water systems. As the plants mature and become established, they can help to retain even more water and trap more airborne particulates. Where green roofs can be accessed by the public, they provide an excellent green space to relax and enjoy themselves improving both their mental and physical health. It has also been said that, having access to quality green spaces reduces aggression in people. Additionally, they create a new habitat for wildlife such as birds and insects.
Meanwhile, traditional roofs are generally neglected spaces that offer minimal environmental benefits.
Are You Planning a Green Roofing Project?
To discuss your green roofing project call Riefa on 0844 057 0359. Backed by many years in the construction industry, Riefa Green Roofs would be glad to give advice on your new lightweight and organic green roof. You can also visit the Riefa website here: Riefa Lightweight Green Roof