In 50 years time large parts of cities like London will have been ‘greened’ both at street level and on the roof-tops according to urban ecologist Dusty Gedge.
He says that there are multiple benefits of having plants living on top of buildings. In summer they help cool offices and factories reducing the need for air conditioning, and in winter they can offer a certain amount of insulation.
They soak up storm-water – holding heavy rainfall in situ preventing flash flooding at street level; provide insulation against noise which is useful in noisy areas such under a busy flight path, filter air pollution, are lovely to look at and attract wildlife such as birds, butterflies and bugs.
Mr Gedge reckons that from now on new buildings in cities will be designed to incorporate green spaces on top of their structures – but that greening existing buildings is more challenging as many cannot take the weight of traditional growing mediums for plants to grow in.
But he says that new technologies such as VYDRO® foam, developed by British company Huntsman provide a possible solution. This 4cm thick, sponge-like material is 70% lighter than traditional mediums, but can absorb up to 30 times its weight in water. Rainwater falling on the roof is trapped within it, reducing run-off and providing water to the plants when they need it.
More from Dusty Gedge at www.thevydroeffect.com