Burnley Green Roofs project opens today
Australia's first green roof research, demonstration and teaching facility opened today at the University of Melbourne's Burnley Campus. It is one of only a few similar centres in the world.
The Burnley Green Roofs project is a true collaboration between the University's School of Land and Environment and HASSELL. Ongoing research and the design lessons from the Burnley Green Roofs will provide technical knowledge for architects, landscape architects and public policy makers to install green roofs in Australian cities.
The project consists of three areas. The first is a large demonstration roof with 14 different green roof types made up of distinct planting zones, irrigation and growing treatments. The second is a research roof, dedicated to quantifying the environmental benefits of green roofs and plant performance. The third area is a biodiversity roof, comprising a range of habitat features to encourage and sustain local wildlife.
The Burnley Green Roofs will enable small group teaching activities and demonstrate the variety of green roofs available to the building industry. The facility will determine the best plant species and soils to use on city roofs. It will also demonstrate how green roofs can use storm water, reduce building energy use and showcase how visually attractive and multifunctional green roofs can be.
Green roofs have a range of environmental benefits that can help adapt Australian cities to climate change, as well as social and economic benefits that can make denser cities more liveable and attractive. However, they are still not common in Australia partly because it has taken time to research which plants will be most successful in the Australian climate. This facility aims to show what is possible in the local climate and context.
John Rayner from the University of Melbourne said, "Planning and design are key components to successful green roofs and the Burnley Green Roofs are an example of this."
HASSELL provided innovative design solutions to assemble the roofs. "Many elements were pre-fabricated and test assembled off-site, then transported and reassembled on the living rooftop." said Stephen Tan from the HASSELL design team. "This represents an innovation in design, research and construction process." The project has been designed with the ability to evolve with changing technology and in response to new research developments.
Photography courtesy of Les O'Rourke
—Read more articles for February 2013
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