Why green rooftops are sprouting around the world

Whether it is carefully cultivated gardens or urban farms, a growing number of green roofs are growing atop buildings across the world’s cities. Amid a broader push from companies and governments driving toward net-zero goals, for which the built environment can play a critical role, the rising number of green roofs stems in part from new financial incentives and regulations.

Toronto, for example, introduced laws for new buildings or extensions greater than 21,000 square feet back in 2009. Since then, developers have had to cover between 20% and 60% of their buildings with vegetation – and while they can opt-out for a fee, fewer than 10% choose to do so, according to data from Toronto’s City Hall.

Other cities have opted for more flexibility. In San Francisco, 15% to 30% of roof space on new buildings must incorporate solar panels, green roofs, or both.

“Local government policy has and continues to be the major gamechanger as more cities aim to improve air quality, protect against flooding and heat stress during heatwaves, and build nature back into the urban environment,” says Isabel Scruby, Planning, Development & Heritage consultant at JLL.

Appealing to modern tenants
While green rooftop space can be left vacant or landscaped for recreational use to help improve health and wellbeing among building tenants, some rooftops are going down a different route. With greater public concern over climate change and a growing appetite for locally sourced produce, urban farming is taking off, with fresh vegetables grown at elevated urban farms like Agripolis' Nature Urbaine in Paris.

In the UK, the Crown Estate’s Princesshay rooftop garden is home to over 300,000 bees. Since launching in 2012, honey is sold in the shopping center below. “Using green roofs to grow fruit and vegetables is a great opportunity to move rooftops away from purely recreational use and drive more value from them while also benefiting the local community and wildlife,” Baker says.

Read the complete article at www.jll.com.au.

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