SMARTRoofs: integrating climate adaptation with green roofs and solar energy production on buildings

In the near future more than half of the human population will live in urban areas. One of the most critical living condition is the urban heat island which is accentuated by climate change and the global warming effect. Cities are challenged to adapt to climate change and implement for example green roofs as a measure for cooling buildings and the urban atmosphere.

Since roof tops got more and more used as well as place to install pv panels to produce solar energy, the world of urban planners got challenged with the question if and how can this two ecological measures be combined.

Many examples proved: Combining the two technologies is common in many countries in the world.

However, if these combined roofs are not design and installed correctly, things can go wrong – plants can overgrow the pv panels. All too often, solar panels are seen as the important element. They do provide energy after all which has a clear financial value. But if the green roof is just treated like window-dressing around the panels, the positives mentioned above can quite easily turn into negatives. Plants can grow in situations they provide shade and reduce the energy production – and causing a lot of maintenance efforts.

Actual knowledge and experience provides enough information how the combination of the two technologies can be planned and on the legal perspective, how authorities may deal with the often occurring discussion debating these ecological measures.